Responses to Attacks on Teaching People’s History

In September 2018, Slate ran an excerpt of Sam Wineburg’s book Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone). The article was an attack on Howard Zinn and people’s history teachers. Wineburg argued that Zinn’s approach to history is “dangerous,” because “Zinn’s power of persuasion extinguishes students’ ability to think and speaks directly to their hearts.”

Journalist Jonathan Chait added fuel to the fire when he shared Wineburg’s article and asserted that many teachers use A People’s History as their only textbook.

Educators and activists responded to both pieces on social media. The Zinn Education Project’s Ursula Wolfe-Rocca wrote an article defending the importance of teaching people’s history.

Here are many of the key exchanges.

Thread from Show Your Work

Thread by Lisa Gilbert