I’ve just read the sad news that Howard Zinn has passed away.
Zinn’s career stands as a monument to the proposition that scholarship, teaching, and activism can be successfully melded. As someone who values all three, but manages the relationship between them rather differently, I cannot honestly say that Zinn and his scholarly work have been a model for me. But I greatly admire his career nonetheless.
I never studied with Zinn. But I had the opportunity to meet him briefly, when he was the keynote speaker at the conference on Empire, Resistance, and the War in Iraq that was sponsored by Historians Against the War (on whose steering committee I then sat) in Austin, Texas in February 2006. Zinn gave a rousing and deeply historically informed talk. And he had all the warmth and genuine concern for history, his country, and his fellow citizens that I’d always associated with him.
Truly a life well lived.