The People Speak – Extended Edition – DVD

Film. Directed by Howard Zinn, Chris Moore, and Anthony Arnove. 2009. 110 minutes.
Dramatic readings and performances based on Voices of a People’s History and A People’s History of the United States.

  • Time Periods: All US History | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Organizing, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History | Reading Levels: Adult, Grades 6-8, High School | Resource Types: Films

"The People Speak" film is a wonderful classroom companion. Directed by Howard Zinn, it offers dramatic readings and performances based on "Voices of a People’s History" and "A People’s History of the United States."The People Speak, the feature documentary inspired by A People’s History of the United States and based on live readings of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, offers readings and performances of letters, diary entries, speeches, and songs from throughout U.S. history.

Narrated by Howard Zinn, this DVD is an extended version of the film that aired on the History Channel in December 2009. This is an essential resource for every history teacher.

The extended edition of the film features dramatic readings by: Matt Damon, Danny Glover, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Sandra Oh, Sean Penn, Lupe Fiasco, Rosario Dawson, Don Cheadle, Michael Ealy, and Staceyann Chin, and musical performances by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, and many other noted artists.

View the full list of chapters, performers, readings, and songs.

ISBN: 9781422974599 | Directed by Chris Moore, Howard Zinn, and Anthony Arnove.

 

Film Trailer

Selected individual performances (including some from the film and others) that can be used in the classroom are online at Voices of a People’s History.

Film Availability

The People Speak is available:

Using the Film in the Classroom

Send us your stories to share about how you have used the film with students.

I have organized my interdisciplinary 2 credit American Studies course around the theme of American identity; for the midterm student must write an essay showing the evolution of our identity, using specific history and literature examples which they explain and analyze from 3 of our 5 units. Throughout the course, they read A Peoples’ History of the United States as a companion to their textbook. I use The People Speak as a transition from the first part of the course which goes from the Puritans to 1900 and the second semester which goes from the turn of the century to the present. —Deb Springhorn, Lebanon High School, Lebanon, NH

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There are 3 comments by other visitors:

  • I have organized my interdisciplinary two credit American Studies course around the theme of American identity; for the midterm student must write an essay showing the evolution of our identity, using specific history and literature examples which they explain and analyze from 3 of our 5 units. Throughout the course, they read A Peoples’ History of the United States as a companion to their textbook. I use The People Speak as a transition from the first part of the course which goes from the Puritans to 1900 and the second semester which goes from the turn of the century to the present. —Deb Springhorn, Lebanon High School, Lebanon, NH

    Response shared by Deb Springhorn — January 27, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  • Showed much of “The People Speak” to my 8th-graders as part of a unit they are doing on Oratory. After they got over their usual silliness laughing at the things middle-schoolers find to laugh at, they got quite into the presentations. They struggle with the concept of enriching vocabulary (with a “why bother” kind of attitude) but this film helped break that down some for them. They especially enjoyed the Sojourner Truth portrayal, which opened the door to some good discussions. What a great service; thank you!

    Response shared by Kipp Dawson — February 19, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  • I most often use the excerpts surrounding slavery and civil rights (Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, John Brown). We discuss these people in class and read primary sources from history, so giving the students a visual/audible experience to tie into the work they do in class really helps with their comprehension of the material. And sometimes they really just love seeing their favorite actors reading the same thing they are. Most commonly, I get all the girls in my class listening more intently as well as cheering while Kerry Washington reads “Ain’t I a Woman?” They feel a connection to people who look like them reading the same words they are reading. —Cameron May, high school social studies teacher, Kansas City, MO

    Response shared by Cameron May — May 23, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

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