Exploring Howard Zinn's Life

1575 WordsFeb 16, 20186 Pages
This paper explores Howard Zinn’s life as an influential historian and public intellectual. It argues for his critical, singular position as an academic who left a mark on generations of Americans as well as international persons by guiding us all to critically view various institutions and structures of power, particularly in the realm of government. By looking at four major aspects of his life, as radical historian, civil rights crusader, anti-war activist, and labor rights activist, the paper delineates Zinn’s impact in these areas and how he shaped the thinking of countless individuals on these topics. In the process, this paper also takes on critical views of Zinn and either disagrees with, or reconciles them to argue for why Zinn’s lofty status in American history is well-deserved. Zinn was among a select handful of people in the past century who have most effectively, and lastingly, taught so many of us to critically rethink our understandings of the structures in which we operate, the true value of those structures, and our roles within them. For this, his legacy becomes undeniable. II. Early Life & History Zinn was born on August 24, 1922 to Jewish parents Eddie and Jenny Zinn in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. His father provided financial means by working as a waiter, washing windows, and hawking men’s ties from a pushcart. Growing up in a working class home, resources were quite limited for Zinn. In these circumstance some of this earliest and most
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