Thanks to Jill and Jenners for hosting this group read. This is my third reading of A People’s History. I plan on posting every few weeks. If this book inspires you please read the books in Zinn’s bibliography. I will add links to other resources.
When I first read this book I became angry. I was also disappointed that the teachers I had trusted in high school and college had not been curious enough to dig deep into the history of the United States. Later, when I returned to school, things had changed.
Now I know this had to do with our educational system, with textbook publishers, with class, race and political power. I believe we are undergoing a historic change, and hope that more people will be curious enough to learn about our history as a country and as a people, but there are indications of a back-lash. Witness the recent book removal from Tuscon, Arizona, classrooms.
If this book makes you angry or frustrated or discouraged, please keep reading. Our posts and discussions are invaluable.
Chapter 2: Drawing the Color Line. A discussion of the beginning of the African Slave trade in North America and the beginnings of “racism” in the United States.
Some good books:
Rough Crossing – Simon Schama
Many Thousands Gone – Ira Berlin
Narrative of the The Life of Fredrick Douglas
The Classic Slave’s Narrative – Charles Davis and Henry Louis Gates
Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl – Harriet Jacobs
Racism from modern white (leftist) perspective:
Tim Wise is one of the best speakers on racism I have had the privilege to see in person. I find his web site educational and inspirational.
Chapter 3: Persons of a Mean and Vile Condition. Bacon’s Rebellion ( did you learn about this in high school?) and the conditions of the poor in the colonies. For me this period marks the beginnings of class divisions in the Colonies.
I’ve read several of Zinn’s chapter 3 references including:
America at 1750: A Social Portrait by Richard Hofstader
Red, White and Black: The Peoples of Early North America by Gary B. Nash
Here is a link to an online addition of A People’s History of the United States. And an image passed on by a Facebook friend this week.