I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Howard Zinn was an activist, writer, and historian who taught at Spelman College and Boston University. His best-selling book A People’s History of the United States was a finalist for the National Book Award. He died in 2010 at the age of eighty-seven.
[History] rushes on, as it always did, with two forces racing toward the future, one splendidly uniformed, the other ragged but inspired.
There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
However hateful they may be sometimes, I have always loved the movies. When I began reading and studying history, I kept coming across incidents and events that led me to think, Wow, what a movie this would make. I would look to see if a movie had been made about it, but I’d never find one. It took me a while to realize that Hollywood isn’t going to make movies like the ones I imagined. Hollywood isn’t going to make movies that are class-conscious, or antiwar, or conscious of the need for racial equality or gender equality.