Scholars, activists and radicals from across the country will meet up Tuesday, November 5th–the 158th anniversary of Indiana born Socialist Eugene Debs—to celebrate the life and work of Howard Zinn. (Venue and Time: Matthew Hall, Room 210, Purdue University, WL campus. 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm). The event, a public ‘Read In’ of Zinn’s work, will take place at Indiana’s Purdue University, where Zinn’s work was recently the focus of attack by University President and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Recently the Associated Press reported that as Governor in 2010 Daniels ordered his education officials to make sure Zinn’s work was not being taught in Indiana schools. Daniels called Zinn “Un-American” and a “fraud” and referred to his most popular book, a People’s History of the United States, as full of “lies on every page.” The November 5th Zinn Read-In event will be held in conjunction with campuses across Indiana and the nation. Featured individuals will include: Staughton Lynd, historian and labor activist; Anne Wright, former US diplomat and peace activist; Anthony Arnove, Writer, Film maker and co-editor with Howard Zinn, Voices of a People’s History of the United States; James Loewen, author, Lies My Teacher Told Me; and historian Alex Lichtenstein.
Many major scholars, activists and organizations have signed on to endorse the event. Individuals supporting the event include, amongst others, philosopher Cornel West; UCLA historian Robin D.G. Kelley; former Assistant Education Secretary Diane Ravitch; Nation sportswriter Dave Zirin and Carl Mirra, Author, The Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War. Organizations lending their name to the event include, The Zinn Education Project, Steering Committee of Historians Against the War, Veterans For Peace, American Friends Service Committee-Indiana Peacebuilding Program, and the Hòa Bình Việt Nam, Chapter 160: The Việt Nam Chapter of Veterans For Peace.
Daniels’ attack on Zinn has galvanized faculty and students at Purdue. Already 92 faculty have signed an “open letter” criticizing Daniels for censoring Zinn. Faculty and students at Indiana University-South Bend and Indiana University in Bloomington have promised to hold solidarity events at their campuses. In addition, the Purdue event will be live-streamed and available to viewers across the nation. Haymarket Books in Chicago will help sponsor the event by making available new book titles by Zinn and Staughton and Alice Lynd’s classic oral history of the labor movement, Rank and File. Speakers at the event are also expected to link the attack on Zinn—a longtime teacher and professor at Spelman College and Boston University— to larger attacks on public higher education in the form of privatization, voucher programs and curriculum control.
The Zinn Read In on November 5 is being co-sponsored by, amongst others, Haymarket Books, American Federation of Teachers (Indiana), Veterans For Peace Chapter 49 and Central Indiana Jobs with Justice. Please visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/howardzinnreadin for further information. Contact the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.