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ERIC Number: EJ986256
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0889-0293
Howard Zinn and the Struggle for the Microphone: History, Objectivity, and Citizenship
Kelly, Jason M.
International Journal of Social Education, v24 n1 p19-25 Spr-Sum 2009
Every year, historians in the United States attend the American Historical Association (AHA), a conference that has met annually since 1884. The AHA draws scholars from all specializations, and it is the primary organization through which the profession is represented. In 1969, the conference met at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. At the business meeting on the evening of 28 December, the radicals sought to take control of the organization. The minutes demonstrate the dangers of trusting narratives--even (or especially) those proffered as neutral accounts. They do not document the moment entirely, nor do they capture the participants' experiences of it. On the central event, the records are silent. What actually happened speaks to the issues of power, neutrality, and knowledge that were central themes in Howard Zinn's career. In those moments, Zinn, representing the Radical Historians' Caucus, sought to present a resolution to the members of the AHA. He grabbed a microphone and attempted to introduce it before the meeting's close. It denounced the twin evils of "the physical and cultural destruction of the Vietnamese people" and the "Black community at home". Before he had a chance to speak, John K. Fairbank intervened by wrestling the microphone out of Zinn's hands. The episode became known as the "Struggle for the Mike". In this article, the author talks about this episode and focuses on history of the profession, notions of objectivity, and citizenship. (Contains 1 note.)
International Journal of Social Education. Ball State University, Department of History, Muncie, IN 47306. Tel: 765-285-8700; Fax: 765-285-5612; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas