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Uplifting Quotes from Howard Zinn

Posted by libhom Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Howard Zinn

(Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

Image paired with the story:
Howard Zinn: A Public Intellectual Who Mattered

The great historian Howard Zinn may be gone, but his amazing legacy remains. Here are two wonderful quotes from him that should inspire liberal and progressive activists at the worst of times (or the best).

"The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. The government will try to deceive the people, and the newspapers and television may do the same, but the truth has a way of coming out. The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies. My hope is that you will not be content to be successful in the way our society measures success; that you will not obey the rules, when the rules are unjust; that you will act out the courage that I know is in you."

- Howard Zinn - Address to Spelman College, 2005

"to engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points."

- Howard Zinn

I think the part about "no act too small" is really important. It is easy to get discouraged because you are only one person, and, separately, your actions may not make that big of a difference. Remember, you are part of a large community of activists, bloggers, and others who are doing all sorts of things to achieve the same goals. Be happy to be a part through what you are doing, and try to do a little more.



  1. He was quite an optimist...!

  2. GDAEman Says:
  3. Yes. That discouragement thing. Hope, in the sense of thinking your actions might help make a difference, is a critical ingredient. The Citizens United decision put a chill on hope, but also seems to have spawned a backlash.

  4. Jimmy Says:
  5. I wonder if you've seen Eric Alterman's critical remarks concerning NPR's suspect decision to allow David Horowitz to add his bile to Zinn's obit on All Things Considered.


  6. libhom Says:
  7. Todd: Yes, but he based it on a knowledge of history.

    GDAE: I'm bigger on action than hope anyway.

    Jimmy: I hadn't read Alterman's remarks, but I did read FAIR's Action Alert, and I contacted NPR at the time.



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