[Howard Zinn raw #30]

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Marilyn Young discusses Howard Zinn, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the anti-war movement.

0:17 NYU history professor Marilyn Young talks about her first time meeting Howard Zinn at the meeting of the American Historical Association at the end of the 1950s. She recounts how she was amazed at how many people came up to introduce themselves to Zinn. She talks about living in Japan during the early days of the civil rights movement and learning about its development in letters from Zinn.

4:49 Filmmaker Denis Mueller asks Young about the content of the letters. She talks about Zinn’s excitement and satisfaction in the developing community of students, faculty, and Atlanta residents. She says that Zinn was able to use humor to break the tension and put people at ease.

8:00 Young talks about the development of her friendship with Zinn throughout their involvement in the civil rights movement and anti-war movement. She highlights the early links between the civil rights movement and anti-war movement prior to Johnson’s deployment of troops.

17:07 Marilyn Young talks about how the historical re-examination of the end of WWII and the origins of the Cold War taking place during the 1960s broke down the simplistic story of a virtuous, civic-minded United States and called for a fuller account of American history that presented the expansion of the United States and it’s power abroad as the story of American capitalism, but also looked at resistance to this expansion. She says that this was achieved in part inĀ A People’s History. She talks about a major shift in the historiography towards looking critically at class, race, and gender.

22:36 Young speaks in favor of a presentist approach to history and commends Zinn’s interpolation of personal narrative in his historical writings.

25:50 Young talks about Zinn’s working-class background and his experiences with class mobility and the GI Bill.

29:28 Young says that radical history is just good history. She speaks to the need to be alert to different perspectives and not simply accept inherited frameworks of historical analysis.

31:07 On the topic of the growth of the anti-war movement, Young says that the anti-war movement grew because of the continuation and expansion of the war itself. She discusses the widespread circulation of Zinn’s writings and the strong anti-Vietnam stance taken by SNCC. She talks about visiting Paris to initiate peace talks with the Vietnamese.

38:26 Marilyn Young talks about her involvement with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War demonstration in April 1971.

47:07 Young talks about the Nixon administration’s fear of the anti-war movement.

50:35 Young discusses the Winter Soldier investigation, conducted to shed light on the experiences of Vietnam veterans.



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