The life and work of late anti-war historian Howard Zinn will be the focus of an event Tuesday that will be streamed live from Purdue University in West Lafayette to IPFW.
A controversy involving Purdue University President and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels served as the stimulus for the event.
The Associated Press reported in July that Daniels, while serving his second term as Indiana’s governor, sent emails asking that Zinn’s liberal writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a cleanup of college courses.
Daniels was referring to A People’s History of the United States, an academic history textbook written in 1980 by Zinn. The book has received renewed interest in the wake of Daniel’s remarks.
The read-in of Zinn’s work, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m.
The Zinn event symbolizes the ongoing fightback against the privatization of public education, attacks on teachers and teachers unions by politicians like Daniels, read one Purdue event announcement.
Howard Zinn is a hero to millions of Americans, said Bill Mullen, a professor of English and American studies at Purdue who helped organize the event. He made the stories of women, workers and civil rights activists available to many people who did not know of them before.
Speeches will center on topics such as academic freedom. Prominent professors, scholars and activists speaking at the event include:
Staughton Lynd, author, attorney and labor activist;
James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me;
Anne Wright, former U.S. diplomat and peace activist;
Anthony Arnove, filmmaker who co-edited with Zinn on Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
Lynd, 83, was Zinn’s co-worker and longtime friend. In the midst of the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s, both men taught American history at Spelman College in Atlanta, the nation’s oldest institution of higher education for African-American women.
Both men were also known for their anti-war activism and Lynd’s would eventually cost him his teaching job.
Lynd will talk about Zinn’s dramatic reversal from a young, eager Air Force bombardier in World War II to a passionate opponent of modern war and how the experince formed his values and beliefs.
Zinn’s values were also formed by his personal experiences within the working class, Lynd told The Journal Gazette in a phone interview last week.
Before he joined the Air Force, Zinn worked in a shipyard and helped organize a worker’s union. Later, while attending college, Zinn worked nights at a warehouse with a diverse group of co-workers, Lynd said.
Lynd lives in Youngstown, Ohio, where he practiced law until his retirement in 1996. He continues to work as an activist for local unions and as an advocate for inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary.
We’re not a collection of big shots, Lynd said. We’re just ordinary people trying to save the world.
The free read-in is sponsored by Iota Iota Iota of IPFW, a student group that encourages and rewards academic excellence in the field of Women’s Studies; another student organization, Food Not Bombs; and the IPFW Sociology Student Association.
For more information go to the Facebook event page or contact Amity Pauley at firstname.lastname@example.org.