Howard Zinn, following the tradition of the founder of the Progressive School of U.S. history, Charles Beard, wrote a “usable past” for the people, not for the economic/political establishments and their academic and popular servants. Beard, Williams, Zinn, and others had had to endure the vilifications of inquisitors that their works were “anti-American” because they disputed policies which usually resulted in disaster for the American people. That is an undertone of some of the attacks today. He understood, unlike his academic critics, that intellectual freedom(which academic tenure gives those who receive it in the university world) means nothing unless you use it. And he used it brilliantly. Zinn’s diverse work, books, articles essays, plays, audio and video materials available through the internet, will continue to make history relevant to contemporary society whereas the work of his critics will be read and cataloged with the proper footnotes only by those like themselves.
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