Tribute to Howard Zinn

Vale American socialist, labour activist, award winning writer, professor, historian and "courageous militant"

Howard Zinn, industrial worker, union activist and internationally recognised historian was, in the words of friend and colleague Noam Chomsky, "devoted, selflessly, to empowerment of the unknown people who brought about great moments."

Author of A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn grew up

 in a working-class family in Brooklyn starting out as a shipyard labourer. During World War Two, he was an Air Force bombardier, but by wars end he became a peace activist.

Zinn studied and earned a Ph.D in history, lecturing at Harvard University among others, and a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bolgna.  He won awards and honours over a career that spanned a half century.

Among his 20 books and plays are La Guardia in CongressDisobedience and DemocracyThe Politics of HistoryThe Pentagon Papers: Critical EssaysDeclarations of Independence: Cross Examining American IdeologyYou Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train (his autobiography), The Zinn ReaderMarx in Soho and the seminal, highly celebrated A People's History of the United States: 1492 to the Present

A Jew, Zinn was at the same time considered the military occupation of West Bank intolerable.  He was also an outspoken critic of the US occupation of Iraq and earlier Vietnam.

He played a leading role in the civil rights movement in the sixties -  alongside African Americans "riding freedom buses, organising demonstrations, facing bitter racism and brutality.

"As a reward for his courage and honesty, Howard was soon expelled from the college where he taught," Chomsky recalls in an obituary written for his comrade and published on his website.

"As always, his prominent presence in protest and direct resistance -- were a major factor in civilising much of the country."

Howard Zinn died, aged 87 on January 27

Read Noam Chomsky's full tribute to his fellow socialist

Watch Conversations with History: Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn "On Human Nature and Aggression"

A People's History of the United States

(the 20th Century)