Reactions to the death of Howard Zinn

Ben Affleck:
"Howard had a great mind and was one of the great voices in the American political life," "Hunting" co-star Ben Affleck, also a family friend of the author, said in a statement. "He taught me how valuable — how necessary — dissent was to democracy and to America itself. He taught that history was made by the everyman, not the elites. I was lucky enough to know him personally, and I will carry with me what I learned from him — and try to impart it to my own children — in his memory

Bruce Springsteen: In the new issue of Rolling Stone, under the heading "Inspiration," Bruce Springsteen says: "Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States had an enormous impact on me. It set me down in a place that I recognized and felt I had a claim to. It made me feel that I was a player in this moment in history, as we all are, and that this moment in history was mine, somehow, to do with whatever I could. It gave me a sense of myself in the context of this huge American experience and empowered me to feel that in my small way. I had something to say, I could do something. It made me feel a part of history, and gave me life as a participant."

James Carroll, columnist for Globe’s Opinion pages, Catholic chaplain at BU
"Howard had a genius for the shape of public morality and for articulating the great alternative vision of peace as more than a dream," said James Carroll a columnist for the Globe's opinion pages whose friendship with Dr. Zinn dates to when Carroll was a Catholic chaplain at BU. "But above all, he had a genius for the practical meaning of love. That is what drew legions of the young to him and what made the wide circle of his friends so constantly amazed and grateful."

Carroll called Dr. Zinn "simply one of the greatest Americans of our time. He will not be replaced -- or soon forgotten. How we loved him back."

Daniel Ellsberg:
I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died today. Earlier this morning, I was being interviewed by the Boston Phoenix, in connection with the release in Boston February of a documentary in which he is featured prominently. The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were, and I had no hesitation in answering, first, “Howard Zinn.”

Noam Chomsky, who remains the best example of the powerful activist-academic, said it best: "I can't think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence, his historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past."

Compiled by Marianna Faynshteyn

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