[Howard Zinn raw #2: initial readings of A People’s History of the United States]

History teacher Joan Davis leads a discussion with her class at York High School in Elmhurst, IL on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." They discuss their reactions to the book, his purpose behind writing it, and how it has affected their perpsective on American history.

0:04Copy video clip URL Inside a classroom, high school students unpack their bags, prepare for history class.

05:02Copy video clip URL Shots of students discussing A People’s History of the United States in small groups.

8:40Copy video clip URL Students discuss their initial reactions to the opening section of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, express their shock and surprise upon reading about Christopher Columbus’s treatment of the indigenous people of the West Indies.

13:09Copy video clip URL The class discusses the religious dimensions of early Spanish colonialism in relation to the Spanish Inquisition.

15:41Copy video clip URL The discussion moves towards Bartolome de las Casas, the continued presence of voices for morality throughout history.

18:08Copy video clip URL Teacher Joan Davis discusses history standards, the conflict between progressive historians (including Gary Nash) and those who think they go too far with their methodology.

21:40Copy video clip URL The class discusses Zinn’s purpose behind writing A People’s History and Zinn’s project of representing the viewpoints of everyday people and honestly confronting atrocities. They discuss the relevance of history to contemporary American life.

27:40Copy video clip URL The class examines the concept of common interest and how history gets written as if we’re all in this together. They talk about how the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam War played a role in shattering the illusion of a cohesive national interest.



  1. Joan Davis says:

    I remember when this video was shot in my classroom – a long time ago. The students were wonderful and I am still in touch with many of them. They have gone on to do wonderful things to further the cause of social justice. Thanks for posting this. Wonderful memories.

  2. Joan Davis says:

    Clarification – York High School is in Elmhurst, Illinois

Leave a Comment


Copyright © 2024 Media Burn Archive.
Media Burn Archive | 935 W Chestnut St Suite 405 Chicago IL 60642
(312) 964-5020 | [email protected]