In honor of historian Howard Zinn and all the ordinary people he celebrated in his work, on Tuesday November 5, scholars and activists from across the country took part in a Read-in of Zinn's work on the campus of Purdue University and on campuses across the nation. The day marks the birthday of another fighter for social justice -- Indiana-born labor activist, Eugene Debs.
The idea for the event was sparked when the Associated Press reported that the current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, in 2010 as Governor of Indiana, tried to censor and ban Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" from Indiana schools. When the news became a national scandal, many students, faculty, and citizens of Indiana had expressed deep concern over the news that the President of one of our great public universities would have attempted such censorship. 'The Zinn Read-in Committee' envisions the event to be a commemoration of academic freedom and a declaration of anti-censorship.
The event also symbolized the ongoing fightback in the United States against the privatization of public education, attacks on teachers and teachers unions, and the need for real democracy in both schools and curriculum. Zinn's A People's History of the United States is an important text for understanding the history of underrepresented populations; the fight for the right to teach this history is never separate from the fight to improve the material lives of students, teachers, minorities and workers around the world.
The Zinn Read-in Committee encourages support for this event by any means possible.