How American oligarchs created the concept of race to divide and conquer the poor
Published on April 19, 2016 in Washington Post

While teaching U.S. history at a public charter high school in the District, Julian Hipkins III noticed that students tended to assume that “race” was as old as mankind. “Almost like it was natural, a given,” as he put it.

So, using some specialized lessons, Hipkins helped the students explore the invention of race and the reasons for it, as laid out in colonial law. Especially the Virginia slave codes enacted between 1640 and 1705.


Continue reading at Washington Post »

How a Nearly Successful Slave Revolt Was Intentionally Lost to History
Published on January 8, 2016 in Smithsonian

By Marissa Fessenden

More than 500 slaves fought for their freedom in this oft-overlooked rebellion

Two hundred and five years ago, on the night of January 8, 1811, more than 500 enslaved people took up arms in one of the largest slave rebellions in U.S. history. They carried cane knives (used to harvest sugar cane), hoes, clubs and some guns as they marched toward New Orleans chanting “Freedom or Death,” writes Leon A. Waters for the Zinn Education Project.

The uprising began on the grounds of a plantation owned by Manuel Andry on the east side of the Mississippi, in a region called the German Coast of Louisiana. There, a slave driver named Charles Deslondes of Haitian decscent, led a small band of slaves into the mansion of the plantation owners, where they wounded Andry and killed his son Gilbert. The group then armed themselves with muskets and ammunition from the plantation’s basement. Some donned Andry’s militia uniforms.

Continue reading at Smithsonian »

Choosing an Alternative to Honoring Christopher Columbus
Published on October 13, 2015 in Nonprofit Quarterly

It’s old news, so to speak, about Christopher Columbus. The Genoese explorer received his commission and subsidy from the Spanish monarchs who also brought the Inquisition to Castile and Aragón—as well as to Spanish possessions ranging from the Netherlands and Naples, the Canary Islands, and after Columbus, the Americas as well. As a result of his explorations of the new world, nations of Native Americans were slaughtered with impunity, wiped out, erased from their lands.

Bill Bigelow, the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and the co-director of the much admired Zinn Education Project, writes on Common Dreams about the greater heritage of Columbus’s voyages—the introduction of the trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as the unleashing of “complete genocide” on the Taínos he encountered in the “New World.” He also notes the relatively consistent manner of presentation Columbus gets in American history books that recounts his enslavement and killing of Taínos in a manner that can do nothing but lead children to think that the lives of the Taínos didn’t—or don’t—matter.

Continue reading at Nonprofit Quarterly »

As Cities Give Columbus the Boot, Indigenous Peoples Day Spreads Across US
Published on October 12, 2015 in Common Dreams

As Bill Bigelow, educator, curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools, and the co-director of the Zinn Education Project, wrote at Common Dreams last week. “If Indigenous peoples’ lives mattered in our society, and if Black people’s lives mattered in our society, it would be inconceivable that we would honor the father of the slave trade with a national holiday.”


Continue reading at Common Dreams »

More cities celebrating ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ amid effort to abolish Columbus Day
Published on October 12, 2015 in Washington Post

In a blog post published by the Huffington Post, Bill Bigelow, co-director of the Zinn Education Project, which “promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country,” explained why many historians and indigenous communities find Columbus’s legacy so troubling.

“Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain,” Bigelow wrote. The following year, Columbus ramped up his attempt at making slavery a profitable enterprise, by rounding up 1,600 Taínos, sending the “best” 550 of those to Spain and telling his fellow colonialists they were free to take whoever remained.

Continue reading at Washington Post »

Republican congressman suggests Columbus discovered the US
Published on October 12, 2015 in MSNBC

And the time has come to change the tide, says Zinn Education Project co-director Bill Bigelow, who argued in an article last week that from the very onset, Columbus set out on a mission to conquer and exploit—not to discover—and should be remembered in history for starting the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as well as the first terrorist in the Americas.

“Enough already. Especially now, when the Black Lives Matter movement prompts us to look deeply into each nook and cranny of social life to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being, it’s time to rethink Columbus, and to abandon the holiday that celebrates his crimes,” he wrote.

Continue reading at MSNBC »

A People’s Website
Published on September 22, 2015 in CollectedEdNY

Many of us adult educators are familiar with Howard Zinn, the revolutionary historian who wrote “A People’s History of the United States,” and “A Young People’s History of the United States.” If you are a teacher who has enjoyed using excerpts from Zinn’s books in class, you will love this website, with lots of free teaching materials on history that will be engaging and accessible to students.

One of the key understandings of a historian is that history is made up of multiple perspectives. The materials collected on this site are a wonderful counterpoint to the supposedly “objective” accounts of history given in many textbooks. The teaching activities here often focus on case histories of lesser known events that show students history is not just the “official” version, and that promote questioning and critical thinking.


Continue reading at CollectedEdNY »

Lies Your Textbooks Tell You About Irish-American History
Published on March 17, 2015 in Willamette Week

Portland teacher Bill Bigelow breaks it down.

You’re probably wearing green and pining for a Guinness right about now. That’s cool. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

But Bill Bigelow, a master educator in Portland who taught at Franklin and Jefferson high schools for years, wants you to honor Irish Americans in a different way.

Bigelow, curriculum editor for Rethinking Schools magazine, this week penned an eye-opening article for the Zinn Education Project on the Irish potato famine—and the misinformation U.S. textbooks tell students about the largest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. (The project honors the late Howard Zinn, the historian who wrote A People’s History of the United States.)

Continue reading at Willamette Week »
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Zinn Education Project e-Newsletters
May 2017
Bringing People’s History Resources to U.S. Classrooms
February 2017
Five Myths About Reconstruction | Book Giveaway
March 2017
Fight the Censorship of Howard Zinn in Arkansas Schools
March 2017
Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools
 April 2017
Victory: Arkansas’ Howard Zinn Witch-hunt Fizzles
January 2017
New Lesson: Standing with Standing Rock
January 2017
New Lesson: Reconstructing the South
February 2017
Tackling the Headlines: Teaching Humanity and History
February 2017
Teach Students to Question the President
 2016 December 2016
Students tell a different story
December 2016
Teaching People’s History Is More Urgent
December 2016
From Howard Zinn’s Daughter
November 2016
Howard Zinn on the Election of Trump
November 2016
Abolish Columbus Day Movement Surges | New How-to Guide | D.C. Trivia Night
December 2016
Get your t-shirt supporting people’s history!
 December 2016
Three Big Hits: Social Studies Conference, Trivia Night, and People’s History T-shirts
August 2016
People’s History Tool Kit: Resources for Teaching Outside the Textbook
September 2016
Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples — Abolish Columbus Day!
October 2016
Support Indigenous Rights: Abolish Columbus Day
 October 2016
What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party—but Should
May 2016
Asian Americans in People’s History | 60,000 Teaching Outside the Textbook
 June 2016
What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement After 1965? Don’t Ask Your Textbook
 June 2016
A Stronger Community Thanks to You | Limbaugh Attacks | Abolish Columbus Day
 July 2016
To You from Howard Zinn’s Daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn
February 2016
Rethinking Presidents’ Day | Black History Origins and Figures
 March 2016
The FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement | Book Winners
 March 2016
Textbook Fail: The social forces that starved the Irish | Popular Lessons
 March 2016
New Lessons to Bring People’s History and Current Events to the Classroom
2015 December 2015
Your Support is Needed to Bring People’s History to the Classroom
December 2015
“My compass in a sea of textbooks”
December 2015
More teachers than ever teach people’s history
November 2015
One week left! Your chance to win a class set of books
December 2015
Climate Justice: In Paris and In Our Classrooms
 December 2015
Let’s transform the teaching of history
 December 2015
Teaching people’s history and you
 September 2015
Pope Francis: System Change, Not Climate Change
October 2015
Time to Abolish Columbus Day
 November 2015
Good News from the Zinn Education Project
 November 2015
Your chance to win a class set of books!
July 2015
The Confederacy: Fact and Fiction
August 2015
From the Bomb to the Vote: Anniversaries of Hiroshima and the Voting Rights Act
August 2015
People’s History Tool Kit—Resources for Teaching Outside the Textbook
September 2015
Constitution Day: Students deserve a critical and honest exploration
May 2015
Rethinking Cinco de Mayo | Mother’s Day for Peace
May 2015
Stealing Home: New Lessons on Race and Displacement | Memorial Day Origins and Meaning
 June 2015
Spring 2015 Update
 June 2015
50,000 Teachers Strong and Counting
March 2015
New Lessons on the Environment | Selma | Women’s History Month
March 2015
Irish American History Not Taught in Schools | People’s History Artists | Women in Labor History
March 2015
Lying About the California Missions and the Indians
 April 2015
Camouflaging the Vietnam War | Classroom Lessons for Earth Day | New from Rethinking Schools
January 2015
Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See the Film
January 2015
‘A Revolution of Values’ by Martin Luther King Jr.
January 2015
Five Years Later: Honoring Howard Zinn’s Legacy of Teaching and Activism
February 2015
Missing from President’s Day: The People They Enslaved | Black History Resources | Thank You Donors | Conferences
 2014 December 2014
10,000 More Teachers in One Year
December 2014
Keep ‘Koch’ Out of Our Schools
 December 2014
Your Support is Needed to Bring People’s History to the Classroom
 December 2014
44,500 Teachers and Growing — Support Teaching Outside the Textbook
December 2014
Reach Thousands More Teachers and Students in 2015
September 2014
People’s History Tool Kit—Resources for Teaching Outside the Textbook
September 2014
“This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed” | Banned Books Week | Celebrate People’s History
October 2014
Abolish Columbus Day
November 2014
Koch Brothers in the Classroom | See You at NCSS | This Changes Everything | Ferguson
June 2014
Zinn Papers Dedication, NCSS, New Resources, and More!
July 2014
Rethinking the 4th of July
August 2014
‘Is This America?’: Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid, LBJ, and the Nation
 August 2014
‘To live in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory’; Celebrating Howard Zinn’s Birthday
May 2014
Japanese Internment, Brown v. Board of Education, and Featured Resources
May 2014
Burning Tulsa: The Legacy of Black Dispossession
 June 2014
Textbooks Miss the Forgotten Fight Against Fascism
 June 2014
How Not to Teach About the Iraq War
April 2014
A People’s History of Muslims in the United States
 April 2014
An Earth Day Message: Take Heart from the Abolition Movement
May 2014
Resources for Teaching About May Day
 May 2014
Rethinking Cinco de Mayo
January 2014
‘Keep Fighting the Good Fight’
January 2014
‘The exhilaration of standing with other people’—Remembering Howard Zinn
February 2014
Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved
March 2014
‘Power In Our Hands’ and Labor Resources – Zinn Education Project News
2013 December 2013
Howard Zinn: “I wanted to change the world.”
December 2013
In Honor Family That Makes History
October 2013
‘The Threat of a Good Example’: The Invasion of Grenada
November 2013
Defending Howard Zinn | See You in St. Louis | Howard Zinn, Presente
December 2013
A ‘People’s History’ of 2013
December 2013
A Letter from Howard Zinn’s Daughter
September 2013
People’s History Tool Kit — Resources for Teaching Outside the Textbook
September 2013
It’s Constitution Day: Time to Teach History or Obedience?
September 2013
Banned Books Week: People’s History Under Attack
October 2013
Challenging Censorship, Amplifying Voices: Green Feather Movement, Columbus, and Conferences
July 2013
Rethinking the Fourth of July
July 2013
Indiana’s Anti-Zinn Witch Hunt
August 2013
Tribute to Howard Zinn, Our Favorite Teacher
August 2013
Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington
April 2013
New, Improved, and Enhanced Zinn Education Project — Plus Much More!
April 2013
An Earth Day Message: Take Heart from the Abolition Movement
May 2013
Burned Out of Homes and History — Tulsa Race Riot Anniversary
June 2013
Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret
January 2013
Honor Howard Zinn’s Life by Teaching People’s History
January 2013
The Poison We Never Talk About in School
February 2013
Reflections on Black History Month, At the Oscars, and Fellow Workers by Howard Zinn
March 2013
Ten Years After: How Not to Teach About the Iraq War
2012 December 2012
Your Support is Needed to Bring People’s History to the Classroom
December 2012
Rethinkin’ Lincoln on the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
December 2012
10,000 More Teachers in 2012—You Can Help Reach Thousands More in 2013
December 2012
26,000 Teachers Growing — Support Teaching Outside the Textbook
September 2012
It’s Constitution Day! Time to Teach Obedience or History?
October 2012
It’s Columbus Day — Time to Break the Silence
October 2012
See You at the Seattle NCSS
November 2012
Stealing and Selling Nature: Why We Need to Reclaim “the Commons” in the Curriculum
June 2012
Who Stole Helen Keller?
July 2012
Rethinking the 4th of July
July 2012
Fists of Freedom: An Olympic Story Not Taught in Schools
August 2012
Howard Zinn at 90, Lessons from the People’s Historian, Find Us at NCSS, More Conferences, New Books
January/February 2012
Honoring Howard Zinn’s Legacy
April 2012
Earth Day Column on Huffington Post
April 2012
Mexican American Studies, New Resources, Upcoming Conferences, Storycorps, and More
May 2012
Untold Story for Classrooms about WWII Internment
2011 December 2011
Highlights of the Zinn Room Dedication
December 2011
Smashing Success at NCSS
May 2011
Inspiring Bill Moyers Interview of Howard Zinn
September 2011
Zinn Room Dedication Invite
September 2011
Upcoming conferences
October 2011
Letter from Myla Kabat-Zinn
January 2011
Honoring Howard Zinn’s Life and Legacy
February/March 2011
Women’s History, Wisconsin, and Vietnam
April 2011
Solidarity! Resources at the Zinn Education Project
August 2011
Ten New Teaching Activities and Upcoming Events Not to Be Missed!
2010 March 2010
Free Sets of People’s History of the United States for 20 Teachers
July 2010
Teaching Outside the Textbook in the News, The People Speak Live! at NCORE, Yes! Magazine, A People’s Celebration of Howard Zinn in Boston
October 2010
Classroom Lessons on Whistleblowing, Ellsberg, Vietnam, and the Pentagon Papers
December 2010
Teaching Outside the Textbook in 2010
January 2010
Submit Questions for “Ask Howard”
February 2010
We Salute Howard Zinn, The People’s Historian, 1922-2010
2009 February 2009
Howard Zinn at NCSS and D.C., Survey Response, New Website Coming
June 2009
ZEP 2.0 in Process, Zinn on Democracy Now!, Free Event in D.C.
December 2009
ZEP 2.0 in Beta, The People Speak Broadcasting on TV, Ask Howard Hour, New from Rethinking Schools
December 2009
ZEP 2.0 in Beta, Ask Howard Hour, Become a Fan on Facebook, New from Rethinking Schools, New from Teaching for Change
Selected Workshops and Presentations

March 30, 2017: Standing with Standing Rock: A Role Play on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Facilitated by Faye Colon and Andy Paparella, middle school teachers, and Deborah Menkart, Teaching for Change executive director. Read more.

March 4, 2017: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth Workshop. Facilitated by Bill Bigelow and Tim Swinhart in Portland, Oregon.

April 9, 2016: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth Workshop. Facilitated by Bill Bigelow in Washington, D.C.

March 19, 2016:  NYCORE. “The Abolitionists: Exploring the Movement that Ended Slavery” facilitated by Adam Sanchez and “Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid” facilitated by Deborah Menkart.

March 5, 2016: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth Workshop. Facilitated by Bill Bigelow in San Francisco.

December, 2014: This Change Everything Writing Retreat. Convened 20 teachers for the Zinn Education Project/This Changes Everything writing retreat weekend near Portland, Oregon, led by Rethinking Schools editors Linda Christensen and Bill Bigelow. Read more.

Apr. 28, 2014: Howard Zinn Paper Dedication at NYU. Workshop by Deborah Menkart, Julian Hipkins III, Katy Swalwell, and moderated by Carl Mirra. Opening comments by Alice Walker. Read more.

Nov. 18, 2012. NCSS. “Rethinking the Line Between Us: Teaching the War with Mexico Workshop” by Bill Bigelow.

Nov. 16, 2012. NCSS. Film Screening and Award Presentation with Sean Arce.

June 1, 2012. NCORE.  A joint Democracy Now! and Zinn Education Project workshop called “Teaching a People’s History, Teaching Democracy Now!: Role Play on the Climate Crisis and Online Resources for Critical Media Literacy.”  Read description.

April 21, 2012. Oregon NAME. Workshop by Bill Bigelow.

August 4-7, 2011. Transforming Education & Our World: 8th Annual Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) Conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference included three workshops on people’s history topics: Teaching diverse Middle School students empowering ways to explore racism in history (Moé Yonamine); Indigenous Peoples Confront the Climate Crisis (Tim Swinehart); and Rethinking the Line Between Us (Bill Bigelow)

June 4, 2010. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. People Speak Performance with Voices of a People’s History.

May 15, 2010. A People’s Celebration of Howard Zinn. Speech by Lauren Cooper about the Zinn Education Project.

April 23-24, 2010, Urban Sites Conference, Portland, Oregon. The People Speak: Illuminating Primary Source Documents to Promote Literacy and Activism – and – Rethinking the Line Between Us: Bringing History to Life in the Classroom.

March 20, 2010. NYCORE Conference, New York. Bringing People’s History to Life in the Classroom: In Honor of Howard Zinn (1922-2010) with Voices of a People’s History.

March 13, 2010. Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group. St. Louis, MO. Teaching People’s History with You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train film viewing and discussion.

Selected List of Displays at Conferences and Other Public Events


National Council for the Social Studies Conference (Washington, D.C.)


National Council for the Social Studies Conference (New Orleans, LA)

Lessons of Vietnam: The Power of Protest (Washington, D.C.)


Teachers for Social Justice – Bay Area (San Francisco, CA)

Northwest Teachers for Social Justice (Portland, OR)

National Association for Multicultural Education (Tucson, AZ)

National Council for the Social Studies Conference (Boston, MA)


KIDD Literacy Conference (La Cruces, NM)
New York Collective of Radical Educators (New York, NY)
Free Minds, Free People Conference (Chicago, IL)
National Council for the Social Studies Conference (St. Louis, MO)


National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (New York, NY)
National Council for the Social Studies (Seattle, WA)
New York Collective of Radical Educators (New York, NY)
Oregon NAME


American Historical Association (Boston, MA)
Anti-racist/Anti-bias Teaching Conference (Milwaukee, WI)
ASCD (San Francisco, CA)
National Association for Multicultural Education (Chicago, IL)
Northwest Teachers for Social Justice (Seattle, WA)
Teachers for Social Justice (San Francisco, CA)


American Education Research Association National Conference (Denver, CO)
Anti-racist/Anti-bias Teaching Conference (Milwaukee, WI)
Coalition for Community Schools National Conference (Philadelphia, PA)
Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group Curriculum Fair (St. Louis, MO)
National Association for Multicultural Education (Las Vegas, NV)
National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (National Harbor, MD)
National Council for the Social Studies (Denver, CO)
New York Collective of Radical Educators (New York, NY)
Oakland History Day Fair – Celebrating Everyday Heroes in History (Oakland, CA)
Organization of American Historians National Conference and Commemoration of Howard Zinn (Washington, DC)
Philadelphia Social Justice Curriculum Fair (Philadelphia, PA)
Ridenhour Award Ceremony (Washington, DC)
Teachers for Social Justice conferences in Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; and Portland, OR
Urban Sites Conference of the National Writing Project (Portland, OR)
US Social Forum National Conference (Detroit, MI)
Wisconsin Social Studies Conference (Madison, WI)
White Privilege Conference (La Crosse, WI)