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Arkansas' Howard Zinn Witch-Hunt Fizzles


Arkansas' Howard Zinn Witch-Hunt Fizzles

Bill Bigelow

Last week nearly 700 Arkansas teachers and school librarians received copies of books by Howard Zinn—thanks to a right-wing state representative.

Well, not exactly. But here’s the story.


Thank you for your work to combat ignorance in the Natural State. As an Arkansan and a Zinn reader, I was appalled to see Hendren's bill. The state legislature in Arkansas is an embarrassment to the state, but amid all other treacherous legislation put forth in this session, Hendren's bill was a blip on the radar. I am glad there are organization's across the country willing to link arms with educators in the unenviable task of battling ignorance in our tiny state.


Talk about the irony of telling folks to not picture the (red,) white (& blue) elephant in the room.

The substitute teachers in the state will still show this film:



If they even read the book themselves before they tried to ban it? Sounds like most did not including the Gov. Who needed to resort to hyperbole 'on every page'! That's the thing about history, facts do not change. They may be interpreted and challenged and even subverted but when a historian writes a fact, other historians already know it is true before the politicians attacks even begin.

It seems that the one area where this Trump/Repubs agenda actually represents truth (of sorts) is in the way that the media is used to manipulate public opinion. Obviously the Repub right thought that railing against Zinn would spark a positive blowback of votes (support for themselves) from the John Waynes who don't need to read a history book to know that they love America and anything she does! Except that Repub supporters are no longer used to getting excited by any book except maybe the Bible in schools which is an aggressive political statement at root.

It was very enjoyable to read about the 'Grand Fizzle' that sought the banning of Zinn's most admirable speaking of truth to the power of the past. Bravo to all the educators who resisted the ban. They would have been mentioned in a Zinn history book about American patriotism.

Thanks to Bigelow for fulfilling that role.


The truth is always suppressed by the State. I love Zinn's work because it always filled in the empty holes left by traditional history rhetoric. After you read his work you can always say to yourself "Oh, now I get it".


I recently received my copy of Zinn's history book. it's 3rd on my stack of reading material. After reading this I just might read it next after finishing Richard D. Wolff's newest book on capitalism. Contempt prior to investigation seems to permeate society as a whole but books should never, ever be banned. If one doesn't want to read it that's fine but DON'T tell others what to, or not, to read. Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' comes to mind as that society had banned all books including the damn Bible. What's wrong with the idiots in charge of things, especially education, anyway?


I'm glad you mentioned 'Fahrenheit 451', Hippy -

I think the movie made several years ago (with Julie Christie?) should be shown along with '1984' — what a GREAT double feature for the 4th of July!  IMHO, Turner Classic Movies should alternate them all day long!!

- Fester


Thank you, Mr. Bigelow! This story gives me hope.


Today's politicians don't want people educated, not really. That's what's wrong with them.


If you've ever read Zinn's History of the United States, you would see that he documents just about every third word he writes. I have never seen a history book with more footnotes and references. That means that the wingnutters can't complain that it is inaccurate. The only thing they can complain about is that it reveals "inconvenient truths."