Nicolas Lampert of the Just Seeds Collective reflects on the passing of Howard Zinn:
Howard Zinn changed my life. In 1999, I first read “A People’s History of the United States” and read it cover to cover, fascinated by his words, his sense of optimism, and belief that ordinary people can and have organized and challenged powerful institutions throughout history.
In 2003, I was so fortunate to meet him and strike up a correspondence and friendship. I remember sending him the full set of Josh MacPhee’s “Celebrate People’s History” posters as a gift to let him know that us young radical artists were attempting to visualize many of the histories that he wrote about. He responded by thanking me for the posters and said that they were too important to remain in his house, on his wall, in a drawer – that he would find a community space where they could hang, a place where people could see them.
That embodied his spirit. Such a genuine person who was always teaching, always inspiring, and always encouraging people to speak out and become active.
Howard Zinn reminds me of Grace Lee Boggs – two people who always remained radical – whose kindness drove their activism. Both have such a fierce determination to fight for social justice and both have so much confidence in the horizontal movements of today and the younger generations to create a better world. They remind us that being an activist is about never giving up and always about pulling more people into the movement.