Zinn Book Drive Donors Speak Up for People’s History March 16, 2017

In early March, the Zinn Education Project asked for donations to help send books to Arkansas teachers and school librarians in defiance of the proposed ban on books by Howard Zinn in public schools. More than 400 people responded in just over a week and many sent moving notes with their contribution. Here are some of their comments.

Rebekah Teague - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryI’m from Arkansas and reading has saved me. I’m donating to the Zinn Education Project book drive because I know students from Arkansas CAN handle the truth. When I heard about the proposed ban of books by Howard Zinn in Arkansas schools, it reminded me of working in the library when I was a middle school student in Conway, Arkansas. The librarian had a drawer full of books she personally “banned.” Cat’s Cradle and Catcher in the Rye were in there among others. Mein Kampf was on the shelf for circulation. (I don’t think any books should be banned, this is just an example of how fraught the choices are about what children read.) I read all the books in that drawer! The highlight of my young life was when my dad gave me free reign over his University of Central Arkansas library card. I still read all the time. We can’t pretend history didn’t happen. I live in Minnesota now but my heart is still in Arkansas. Thank you. —Rebekah Teague, Minneapolis, MN

Tom Mullusky - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
I discovered Professor Zinn via the Canadian band Propagandhi in 1995. I rediscovered him in college in 1997 and I never looked back. His writings have helped shape my worldview and have given me and so many others hope. I sleep with a copy of A People’s History of the United States on my night table. This Arkansas bill must not pass. That is why I am making a donation to the Zinn Education Project. —Thomas Mullusky, Asbury Park, NJ
Susan Chua - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
I’m a fellow teacher and I donated. When I was growing up in rural West Virginia, our year-long course in West Virginia history never mentioned the violence to suppress union organizing, the trickery used to take people’s land for mining, or the Buffalo Creek Disaster. I had to go to college out of state before I learned about it. Don’t let this happen to your students, Arkansas teachers. —Susan Chau, Seattle, WA
Henry Kahn - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
We’ve always learned great things from A People’s History. Now, more than ever, Zinn’s honest methods are a powerful antidote to the malicious concentration of power. Enough of falsifying our past. No more distortions of the present. Learn like Zinn. Teach like Zinn. —Henry Kahn, Atlanta, GA
Diane Brand - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryA People’s History of the United States was published the year I graduated from high school, and it was an awakening. I’d spent 13 years in school and knew little or nothing about our convulsive history. The Arkansas legislature’s current fight to abolish A People’s History in schools is a prima facie wrong, but subjectively, it brought back the betrayal I felt when I realized the adults I had trusted implicitly had lied to me. Teachers and students need Howard Zinn. Everyone does. —Diane Brand, San Diego, CA Tina Renzullo - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryAs a teacher myself, I understand that the most impacting lessons are those which develop critical thinking and evidentiary discourse. As my son calls it, “Establishing a finely tuned bull-s**t detector.” In honor of Joe Renzullo—Tina Renzullo, Pasadena, CA Barclay Key - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryI am a historian at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and am donating in honor of the courageous Arkansas teachers who work diligently to combat our ignorance of history and civics. I look forward to welcoming their students into my classroom! Please consider sending a complimentary copy to Rep. Kim Hendren, too, and any other members of the Arkansas state legislature who might want one. —Barclay Key, Little Rock, AR

 

Reia Lainoff - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

 

Thank you for helping to supply A People’s History of the United States to counter the legislative effort to silence any questioning of the accepted and official history that is presented in most textbooks. I went to Boston University because I had watched Professor Howard Zinn speak on TV about the war in Vietnam. I was able to take his class. He was one of the kindest, most honest, brightest, and most sincere people I have ever met. He left an imprint on me that remains a guiding force today. Our hope for the future lies with today’s students. Let’s help them learn the critical thinking skills that may help them navigate that future! —Riea Lainoff, McLean, VA

 

 

Laura Foner - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Laura Foner and students in a Gould, Arkansas Freedom School, 1965.

I am sending this donation to help send books and materials to teachers and librarians in Arkansas. I knew Howard Zinn (and Roz) and also worked in Arkansas SNCC in 1965-1966. I was also a public children’s librarian for many years. I am very moved by seeing the response in the state to the proposed ban. Thanks for the good work you do. —Laura Foner, Jamaica Plain, MA

One of the greatest moments of my teaching career was when Howard Zinn came to our campus and spoke to a standing room only audience about war and peace. This was during the week when American forces invaded Iraq. Subsequent events have shown what a colossal mistake that war was. Zinn’s voice must continue to inform our students. —PM, Albany, NY

Cat Celebrezze's grandparents - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Cat Celebrezze’s grandparents, Anne M. and Anthony J. Celebrezze Sr. in 1959.

My grandfather (an immigrant) was the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in both Kennedy’s and Johnson’s cabinet. This is a donation to the Zinn Education Project in memory of his hard work in service of democracy and the struggle for equality, the legacy of which the current administration and its morally bankrupt legislature majority seek to remove from our lives. —Cat Celebrezze, Joshua Tree, CA

Twenty years ago A People’s History of the United States and my amazing history teacher, changed my life at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas. We read Zinn alongside a “traditional” history book. We learned to be critical thinkers and successful adults. We learned how to learn. Hats off to Mr. V and a legacy of critical thinkers. —Michelle Pierce, Houston, TX

I live in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I want to flood this state with Howard Zinn’s books! Thank you for all you do. —Elaine Eckles, Little Rock, AR

These books tell history from the other side—the workers and people of color who built this country but who don’t get credit for it. It is very important history to understand how we got to where we are today. —Darcie Furlan, Walla Walla, WA

This donation is prompted by the Arkansas ban on Howard Zinn’s books. I am a retired attorney teaching AP U.S. history in Austin, Texas, but in an earlier lifetime (1987-1993) I was the executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. It brings back old memories of the banning of Of Mice and Men in one Arkansas high school and Manchester’s The Glory and the Dream in another. “The more things change… .” This is dedicated to a great historian, Howard Zinn. —Jay Jacobson, Austin, TX

 - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Enid Lee

This donation is dedicated to all the people in Arkansas who requested books by Howard Zinn when a lawmaker in their state attempted to have the books banned; and also to the Zinn Education Project volunteers and staff who made it possible for the folks in Arkansas to receive a book by Zinn and people’s history lessons. —Enid Lee, Santa Cruz, CA

I am 71 years old and just read Howard Zinn’s book. I wish I had read it long ago. Things make more sense now after reading it.  —Bob Maginnis, Port Townsend, WA

I am honoring my husband David Thomas, who would have been proud to put this book, with its broad global focus, in the hands of teachers in Arkansas. —Ellen Bigler, Providence, RI

Whenever someone asks me to recommend a book to get them started studying truthful history, I always recommend Howard Zinn’s A People’s History. —Gene Bruskin, Silver Spring, MD

Deborah Skok - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Deborah Skok

The teachers, librarians, and students of Arkansas are the real heroes of this story. They labor every day to provide the knowledge and critical thinking skills that we all need to protect American democracy. As a college professor in Arkansas, I am grateful to the educators who work so tirelessly to prepare students for my classroom and for service in the larger world. —Deborah Skok, Conway, Arkansas

Howard Zinn changed my life when I read A People’s History of the United States as a junior in my high school history class. The book not only inspired my love for learning history, but it challenged me to think critically about the way we teach and learn as a society. I later went on to study the relationship between human rights and education and obtained my masters of education with a focus on inquiry based learning in the history classroom. If ever there was a time where we need more Zinn, it’s now. —Amy Swibel, Chicago, IL

Megan Valenta - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
I’m donating to the Zinn Education Project because the truth should be accessible to all. I’m currently reading A People’s History of the United States for the first time as a 33-year-old woman. I wish I had been taught this vital historical perspective as a child. If I had, who would I be today? Certainly someone who is much more acquainted with dissent, which, of course, is the very reason this history was absent from my education. —Megan Valenta, Snohomish, WA
Mishy Lesser - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
I am donating today so you can meet the needs of courageous librarians and teachers in Arkansas. They need to know many of us support them. —Mishy Lesser (left), Watertown, MA
Andy Koopmans - Arkansas Book Drive donor | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
I’m making this donation, to the Zinn Education Project and the teachers and students in Arkansas, in memory of my parents, Sharon Archibald Koopmans and Lambert Herman Koopmans. They taught me that facts matter, that you don’t judge people on who they are but what they do, and that science, literature, art, and history are all essential pursuits of good citizens. —Andy Koopmans, Seattle, WA

Send people's history to Arkansas—Donate today! | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

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