What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire

Howard Zinn is a historian and playwright who may be best known for his book A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present. Perhaps, you read it for a course or use it in your teaching.

There is a YouTube video that is an animated version of Zinn's essay, "Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire".

A People's History of the United States was considered a rather radical approach to the textbook with its inclusion of the voices of blacks, women, American Indians, war resisters, and others. Zinn explains his perspectives this way:

"My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)--that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth.":
It would be an interesting exercise for student and teacher to read the original essay and then look at the video (below or on the YouTube site) and see how the two mediums differ in their presentation. A good lesson in historical perspective...


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