Earlier this evening our friend Nezua shared on twitter that he saw on wikipedia that Howard Zinn has died today. Shortly after the tweets streamed in there was confirmation that he died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, California at the age of 87.
I know for a fact that the VivirLatino Familia is mourning his death. Yet, as we mourn and remember him, author Sofia Quintero reminds us “coping w/news of Howard Zinn by reminding myself that our generation has some dope intellectuals, too. ” Yes we do!
There are not enough words to express or explain or describe what Howard Zinn has done for the field of History, for under-resourced communities, people of Color, White people, immigrants, all of us. Here’s an excerpt from the first news story I came across announcing his death:
Dr. Zinn was born in New York City on Aug. 24, 1922, the son of Jewish immigrants, Edward Zinn, a waiter, and Jennie (Rabinowitz) Zinn, a housewife. He attended New York public schools and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard before joining the Army Air Force during World War II. Serving as a bombardier in the Eighth Air Force, he won the Air Medal and attained the rank of second lieutenant.
After the war, Dr. Zinn worked at a series of menial jobs until entering New York University as a 27-year-old freshman on the GI Bill. Professor Zinn, who had married Roslyn Shechter in 1944, worked nights in a warehouse loading trucks to support his studies. He received his bachelor’s degree from NYU, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Columbia University.
Dr. Zinn was an instructor at Upsala College and lecturer at Brooklyn College before joining the faculty of Spelman College in Atlanta, in 1956. He served at the historically black women’s institution as chairman of the history department. Among his students were the novelist Alice Walker, who called him “the best teacher I ever had,” and Marian Wright Edelman, future head of the Children’s Defense Fund.
During this time, Dr. Zinn became active in the civil rights movement. He served on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most aggressive civil rights organization of the time, and participated in numerous demonstrations.
To Howard Zinn’s daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn, son Jeff, and grand children our condolences. We thank you for sharing your father and grandfather with us. His legacy will continue.
Here’s a conversation with Howard Zinn on the UCTV channel show called “Conversations With History” and the focus is Radical History:
Links that have been shared on Twitter and Facebook include: