Reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the Unted States was a life-changing experience for me -- and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't read it until I was 44 years old, in 2003. Although readers here assume because of my fondness for the radical '60s that I emerged from the womb carrying a picture of Chairman Mao, the truth is that I was a bland center-left voters and a pretty "balanced" journalist in the '90s, until the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and everything that came with it arrived after 2001. Reading Zinn helped me understand what went wrong, and how everyday people could fight to get things right.
That's while I was thrilled to learn (through a conservative Twiitter follower, go figure...) that there was a push to teach A People's History in Philadelphia public schools. In fact, the City Council passed a non-binding resolution this morning urging the school district to make the book required reading. Here's an excerpt from the resolution as it was introduced by Jim Kenney and Jannie Blackwell:
Resolution calling upon the Philadelphia School District to make Howard Zinn’s best-selling book “A People’s History of the United States” a required part of the high school U.S. history curriculum as Philadelphia City Council recognizes the need to expose students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is typically found in traditional textbooks that often ignore the influence that people of color, women, and the working-class had in shaping our nation’s history.