Educators Respond to White House Attack on Teaching People’s History

In response to the White House attack last week on teaching people’s history, we’ve heard from and about teachers all over the United States. Many have sent donations along with dedications. Others have sent stories about the impact of teaching people’s history in their classrooms.

Dedications with Donations to the Zinn Education Project

Erin Jensen

As a higher education administrator, I am donating to the Zinn Education Project because I believe that educating children early about people’s history is one of the best — if not most necessary — things we can do to turn the tide of ignorance, apathy, and colonialism in this country. — Erin Jensen, Vancouver, Washington

As a former history teacher and now school administrator I feel it is my duty to support a quality history curriculum that helps tell a more complete history of this country and works to include voices left out of the mainstream textbooks. Keep up the great work! — Michael Wegner, San Diego, California

As a former middle school teacher, I want to see critical, progressive, and equitable education made possible for as many children and adolescents as possible. The only way we will heal ourselves and each other is through truth telling. — Grete Howland, Portland, Oregon

I can’t even begin to name all the ways I use the Zinn Education Project. My own teaching is mostly university students so I don’t often use the lesson plans directly but I pull historical data from them and I suggest them to anyone I meet interested in learning or teaching a more inclusive U.S. history. Your emails and social media presence keep me alert to key historical currents that are powerful and significant but also terribly under the radar in our nation today. Some I know of and am happy to be reminded about, but many times I learn of these episodes from you.

When I was studying US history in grad school, I drew inspiration from Howard Zinn’s writings — & I still do! So when I discovered this project that moves his vision forward, I was excited, and have remained a fan of the Zinn Education Project ever since.

Catherine Fosl and photo of Anne Braden. Source: University of Louisville News

As the biographer of white anti-racist activist and journalist Anne Braden and as someone who co-founded a university institute named after her that educates on the Black freedom movement and especially local and under known stories from it, I also share some of our resources with ZEP. And I often point local educators to your work when they approach us for ideas.

Your work is all the more important amid the rising tide of white supremacy the past few years have brought, and they will be all the more essential as our nation’s history curriculum necessarily transforms in creative, positive ways in response to the reckoning that the Black Lives Matter movement is propelling for us all. The work of the Zinn Education Project is helping to usher in that needed transformation. Thank you! — Catherine Fosl, Louisville, Kentucky

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I am grateful that Howard Zinn’s book was in my hands at university. That when I decided to pursue teaching, I was dedicating myself to empower students and to teaching justice. I appreciate the resources and materials the Zinn Education Project continues to provide teachers resources to teach critically and inclusively. — Amy Haggstrom, Portland, Oregon

I’m dedicating my donation to 30 years of students who have had a fuller understanding of U. S. history thanks to A People’s History and the Zinn Education Project. I’m especially proud to dedicate this donation to my daughter, my favorite student — and teacher, who has eagerly shared lessons and activities with her classes as she’s now taken the torch of social justice teaching. — Tom Vorenberg, Norfolk, Connecticut

I dedicate this to my past and future students. To my past students — I wish I knew better and taught you more history that explored all viewpoints. To my future students — with the Zinn Education Project I will. — Courtney Rangel, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

The Zinn Education Project made me a better teacher. Thank you! — Eileen Massey, Oakland, California

Because our students need to know who they are, where they came from, and how we fight for what is right in our world. Zinn Education Project, you support this work every day. Thank you for helping us fight the good fight. — Savita Malik, Aurora, Colorado

For all of my students of color who deserve to see themselves as more than just a footnote in white man’s history. — Kelsey Kagawan, Walnut Creek, California

I am donating because I believe in a better world than the one we have now. It is up to us as educators to create meaningful content that challenges students to rethink the systems they grew up in and the histories they’ve been fed so they can be critical change-makers who are skilled and empowered to prevent history from repeating itself. — Kate Friedman, Brooklyn, New York

I dedicate my donation to my grandson who is entering the public school system. May his world be filled with expansionist views of OUR history. — Consuelo Frausto, Southern California

I dedicate this donation to Bill Bigelow and Linda Christensen who introduced me to the works of activist education. And to all the Portland area teachers working for equity and social justice. — Sandra Childs, Portland, Oregon

I have use Howard Zinn in my classes for over 20 years — even before the Zinn Education Project was developed! His writings and the project’s resources engage kids and teach a more complete, more honest version of our history! All Americans should be happy that these ideas spark critical thinking and awareness of important democratic issues and injustices. An educated electorate is a basic essential for a democracy! — Bridget Mahoney-Fernandes, Edmonds, Washington

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I was a teacher who loved Teacher Tolerance and the Zinn Education Project. Now I am a grandparent with school age children. Keep doing the work. — Sage Spatz, Berkeley, California

I’m donating because teaching accurate and antiracist history is essential, and because as an educator, I refuse to give in to a fascist, white supremist President. Thank you for the work you do for educators and our students. — Lindsay L. Gutierrez, San Jose, California

My co-taught classroom ditched the textbook years ago, the Zinn Education Project provides ideas, lessons, and stories that have been neglected to be taught in classrooms. Our students deserve to learn more than history that has literally been whitewashed. —  Chris Cerrone, Springville, New York

My donation to the Zinn Education Project is dedicated to Ms. Diane Hawkins of Dinwiddie, Virginia public schools. She makes sure every teenager who comes through her classroom door understands the importance of our country’s actual history. — anonymous former student

I’m honoring my high school AP U.S. History teacher, who featured selections from A People’s History of the United States in our class. — Aaron Keating, Seattle, Washington

Dedicated to my teacher, Ms. Seabury, who introduced me to Howard Zinn. — Hector Agredano, Wilmington, California

My daughter is a high school history teacher and uses the Zinn Education Project and loves it. I want to support her and others. — Terry Amick, Peoria, Arizona

Donating as a lifetime student and teacher of people’s history. — Robyn Spencer, Bronx, New York

Donated to stop authoritarians from taking over our history curriculum. — Christopher Martell, Boston, Massachusetts

Joseph Stefanisko, my husband, introduced me to Howard Zinn and his approach to history. Joe taught his American history students (the ones going to Harvard and the ones going to community college) who Emmett Till was, what happened at Matewan, and how the Native Americans may have felt when the Mayflower docked. Joe and Zinn are my heroes. — Isabel Sheridan, Portland, Oregon

I donate to the Zinn Education Project because I feel it’s important to teach our kids to think critically and to understand that there are multiple versions/perspectives to a story and history. Unfortunately, most books are written from the perspective of the victors and they choose and write the narrative for all including minorities and the forgotten ones. Historians like Zinn have greatly contributed to making history more fun, interesting, and engaging. Students feel like they can relate to history regardless of their background. Thank you to the team of the Zinn Education Project. — Dalila Benameur, Chicago Ridge, Illinois

As a former teacher who taught tolerance using materials from the SPLC and the words of Howard Zinn, I dedicate this to all students young and old so that truth, justice and equality may be achieved. — Sharon Loudon, Long Point, Illinois

I would like to dedicate this to the fearless colleagues I had the pleasure to work with at Watkinson School in Hartford, Connecticut. In classes across the curriculum — from science, languages, art, theater, music and, of course, history — they are unafraid to ask serious questions and urge their students to do the same. It is a remarkably inspiring place to work and learn. — Stephen Riege, West Hartford, Connecticut

I am donating this in honor of my daughter, Rebecca, a young teacher who embodies the spirit of the Zinn Education Project. Her passion and wisdom puts her in the vanguard of the social justice educators who will make a difference for the high school students of today and the future. — Evelyn Weinstein-Park, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

I dedicate this gift in memory of my late wife, Cheryl Green Presnall (1955-2020), who was a forty-year educator who encouraged all her students to think for themselves and not be afraid to question anything. — Scott Presnall, Red Oak, Texas

I dedicate this to the Zinn Education Project for supporting so many courageous truth-telling teachers who won’t rest until we’ve exposed all the historical falsehoods that hold us back as a country. — Mishy Lesser, Watertown, Massachusetts

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