Passing of a "Happy Warrior"
Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, social activist; and companion now strongly missed by both friends and family. "He had a deep sense of fairness and justice for the underdog. But he always kept his sense of humor. He was a happy warrior," said Caryl Rivers, a journalism professor at Boston University, who in 1979 defended the right of the school's clerical workers to strike alongside Zinn.
After fighting overseas in WWII as a bombardier, Howard Zinn found himself questioning what it all meant. When he returned home, he gathered his medals and papers, put them in a folder and wrote on top: "Never again." In 1956, he joined the faculty at Spelman College in Atlanta, the historically all-black women’s institution. Author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) was among one of his students, who remembers Zinn as, “The best teacher I ever had.” The focus of his activism would later become the Vietnam War, where his involvement in the antiwar movement led to his publishing two books: Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal (1967) and Disobedience and Democracy (1968). But it would be the book, A People's History of the United States, which chronicled the nation's development through marginalized voices of women, minorities and the working class that would earn him praise and go on to sell more than one million copies. In 1988, Dr. Zinn took early retirement to concentrate on speaking and writing, where he went on to inspire young adults to challenge the abuse of power.
Howard died of a heart attack on Wednesday while traveling in California. He is survived by two children and five grandchildren.
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