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What’s Your ‘Story’? And How Will You Be Part of ‘History’?

January 29, 2010

As a history major, and lover of the stories that make history about people, the passing of renowned and often controversial professor and author Howard Zinn was saddening. I still remember the first time I ever read a part of his A People’s History of the United States in my 11th grade U.S. History class. I also believe that it was around the time that we read from his book that I finally realized that history was really all about the STORY.

Zinn’s writings call for people to learn from the stories of those who came before, both famous and obscure. Truly – we can learn as much about what it means to exercise our rights in a democracy from the writings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Jefferson as when we read the words of girls working in the factories of New York and Boston under unthinkable conditions, or the accounts of Native Americans who were forced from their homes.

As one of Zinn’s most recent projects, The People Speak notes, democracy is not a spectator sport. And while this may sound idealistic in a time of war, a bad economy, and a strained-to-the-breaking-point health care system; I hope that in the absence of Zinn’s voice, we never forget the potential power that we hold as a people full of unique and equally important stories. What’s your ‘story’ and how will you use your experiences to bring about action? Go ahead – write a new part of ‘history.’

In peace and hope,


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