One of America's greatest social historians passed away today at the age of 87. As a young high school teacher in the late 1980s, the work of social historians, in particular Howard Zinn, opened the mind of this "wet behind the ears" teacher. As I included a number of Zinn's articles in my classes, the young minds that sat, blankly, in front of me began to enjoy the narratives of the "little people" and the "forgotten people" that created, fought, and dreamed . . . history and the telling of their stories formed an appreciation and connection to the past. I still remember, these twenty-plus years later, that the narrative discussing Columbus and his engagement with peoples of the First Nation's captured the best spirit of his writing.
The writings of Zinn captivated the spirit and mind of thousands of students and non-students of history. His style and connection to all audiences will be missed. America has lost a great historian and national story-teller. Dr. Zinn . . . rest in peace.