Banning Zinn's Books is White Washing History
by Dr. Michael Flanagan
An Arkansas legislator is attempting to have the writings of Howard Zinn, the author of A People’s History of the United States, banned from all public schools in the state. Republican State Representative Kim Hendren proposed the bill, HB 1834, last week to prevent Arkansas public schools from assigning any works from the legendary historian. This is not the first time a state has attempted to ban his books. Zinn, who died in 2010, was an inspiration for me personally when I was studying history. He wrote from the perspective of those who suffered from the slavery, genocide, racism and oppression of the imperialistic history of the United States. His writing is a counter to the revisionist rhetoric propagated by politicians and printed in public school textbooks throughout the nation’s public schools. He is a controversial figure among historians and academics, and the nature of his work spurs debate in any academic setting. At a time when our current presidential administration is running on the propaganda of “Make America Great Again” politicians in “red states” do not want students critically examining the factual history of our country.
Censorship of political oppression and crimes against humanity is nothing new. The U.S. has a long history of banning books that conflict with the social, religious and political ideas of those in power. The most banned books in U.S. history are: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Candide, Brave New World, 1984, The Catcher in the Rye, Lolita, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Anarchist's Handbook, The Satanic Verses, and the Harry Potter series. Besides literature, there have been many textbook publishers who have altered or deleted content in order to guarantee sales in a particular region.
The Supreme Court has attempted to rule on book banning cases that Badass Teachers Association: Banning Zinn's Books is White Washing History by Dr. Michael Flanagan: