Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The People Speak - Howard Zinn - History Channel, this Sunday, 12/13/09.

Dr. Howard Zinn is a history professor, social justice activist and author. He is best-known for his book "A People's History of the United States" ["People's History"]. He does not teach history from the traditional perspective of presidents, litany of wars and list of businesses or inventions. Instead, he teaches history from the point of view of the individuals who struggled throughout history to make our country live up to its ideals. He teaches about the labor organizers, the dissidents, the war protestors, the anti-slavery organizations, those who were jailed for demanding the right to vote for women, then for blacks.

In 2004, Zinn, now 87, published a collection of original documents from American history along with Dr. Anthony Arnove. That collection is titled "Voices of a People's History of the United States ['Voices']. Before publishing Voices, in 2003, Zinn held public readings in cities around the country, reading from some of those source documents. Now Zinn along with executive producers Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Josh Brolin, and Anthony Arnove have created a production for TV of "The People Speak," a television production of some of the Voices performances, along with interviews of many of the performers including Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Springsteen, and John Legend. That will be aired on the History Channel this Sunday, December 13, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. (but check local listings for time).

"Change doesn't come from the top, but rather from the bottom," Damon observes. "Without everyday citizens pushing to make a difference, there would be no America."

Here is Woody Harrelson, reading from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, about his objections to the U.S. War against Mexico, which was fought to defend American slave-holders who were stealing land in Mexico, and disobeying Mexico's laws which made slavery illegal.

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