In the News

The People Spoke and They Need to Speak Again

Published on December 14, 2009 in

By Alan Singer

As a social studies teacher, a political activist, and a historian, I am a big fan of Howard Zinn, and I very much enjoyed watching The People Speak on the History Channel Sunday night. Well-known and not so well-known actors read speeches, letters, and other primary source documents from the history of the United States. There were also photo montages and songs. It was not great theater or television, but it was a wonderful teaching tool. I have been using many of these documents in my social studies classes for the past four decades. They show aspects of United States history that are either ignored or minimized in most traditional textbooks and curricula. In the near future I hope we see secondary school students across the country participate in similar readers. Our schools, and our country, very much need it.

Currently, I have pre-service teachers in my social studies methods classes use Voices of a People's History as a resource book when preparing lessons and units. I will now recommend that they have schools purchase copies of The People Speak and that they themselves sign up for the resources available from the Zinn Education Project ( I am pleased that an article I wrote about high school students tracing the history of slavery in New York City is included (Please note I did not get paid).

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A Not To Be Missed New Website: Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History

Published on December 14, 2009 in

As their announcement states:

The new site features over 75 free, downloadable teaching activities for middle- and high- school students to bring a people’s history to the classroom. These are the best U.S. history-teaching articles from the Rethinking Schools archives. The site also lists hundreds of recommended books, films, and websites. The teaching activities and resources are organized by theme, time period, and grade level.

Though teachers would have to modify the materials to make them accessible to English Language Learners, the site is truly extraordinary. It’s development is timed with last night’s debut on the History Channel of The People Speak presentation. It was narrated by Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books, A People’s History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States,

I’m adding the new website to The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues.

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