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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Students for a Democratic Society hosts tribute for late historian

From left (Courtesy of Annie Sciacca for Washington Square News, 2009.)

A celebration in honor of the late historian Howard Zinn drew 100 students and faculty to the Performing Arts Center on April 28 for rousing tributes to the man who believed history should focus on the masses, rather than their leaders.

Students for a Democratic Society hosted the event in honor of the man who wrote, “A People’s History of the United States.” He died January 27 at the age of 87.

Drama professor Ed Trujillo said it is important for people to write their own history, and to not wait for people on the top to do it, just as Zinn did with his books.

“It’s very important to take a critical look at how you’re affected by history,” he said. “It’s very critical to know [who] owns the information.”

History professor Mickey Huff discussed a new approach that Zinn took towards looking at history, an approach that focused on the masses of American people, and not the leaders at the top.

SDS member Nick Holmes also spoke, focusing on May Day, a holiday celebrated with political and labor demonstrations across much of the world.

Holmes also spoke about free speech and its relation to DVC.

“We should be learning about these things. We should be learning about this alternate history, this real history,” Holmes said. “This people’s history”.  

“Our free speech is being stifled due to fees and outrageous rules that are unconstitutional and unfounded,” he said.  

Bill Oye, dean of student life, attended the first half of the event.

Oye said that Zinn was a good example of what it meant to be a critical thinker, and that his material fit well for a college campus, such as DVC.  

The event included the film, “Voices of a People’s History in the United States,” which features celebrities reading from Zinn’s book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”.  

Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei, and Danny Glover gave readings from the book.

Huff and Trujillo led a Q&A session following the video.

One student said he was offended that celebrities read Zinn’s material in the film, but was told by Huff that Damon and others knew Zinn personally and were selected by him to be the readers.

Trujillo urged students to question everything.

“I strongly encourage you to be critical thinkers,” he said. “Question authority [and] look at the other side.”

“Never take anything at face value.”


Contact Jonathan Roisman at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Roisman
Jonathan Roisman, Editor-in-chief
Co-editor-in-chief, fall 2010.

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Students for a Democratic Society hosts tribute for late historian