Arkansas wants to ban all classroom mentions of Howard Zinn (teachers, get your free books!)

The Arkansas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit "any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn" in its schools, on the grounds that Howard Zinn says means things about America, like, "It has the kinds of censoring, undemocratic state governments that ban all books by and discussions of critics of America and its actions."

Howard Zinn (who died in 2010) wrote the bestselling and brilliant People's History of the United States, which has been adapted into many equally brilliant other formats. My two favorites are the graphic novel and this collection of dramatic readings of primary source material from people who resisted oppression and fought for justice (for example, James Earl Jones reading "The Meaning of July the Fourth for the Negro" by Frederick Douglass.

Cowardly legislatures have been attempting to ban Zinn for years: in 2010, Indiana tried it; in 2011, Tuscon succeeded, getting A People's History yanked from the city's Mexican American studies curriculum.

The nonprofit Zinn Education Project is offering free copies of A People's History, along with classroom materials, to all Arkansas teachers.

With the legislative proposal to ban “any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn,” the Zinn Education Project is offering free copies of A People’s History of the United States and people’s history lessons to teachers in Arkansas. We are inspired by the Librotraficante who delivered books to schools in Tucson, Arizona, in defiance of the ethnic studies ban.

Arkansas Teachers: Request Your Copy of A People’s History and Lessons [Zinn Education Project]

(via Naked Capitalism)

Notable Replies

  1. Book banning. Yes, we are descending into a fascist state.

  2. Don't these people get the Streisand Effect? The censors have just motivated me to purchase and read Zinn's books.

  3. I sometimes use A People's History when teaching the survey. I once had a conservative activist go through the university legal department to get my syllabus through a FOIA request. Which was stupid of her, as I would have gladly sent her a copy if she had emailed me to ask. Nothing came of it, because I was doing nothing wrong, using a history book to teach history, and I have no idea what the woman was hoping to accomplish in asking for a copy of my syllabus.

  4. My son's eighth grade history class last year used Zinn. It totally corrupted him. He lives in the attic now, chained to a radiator. We can't risk him getting out and spreading the word.

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