This e-mail was from a student who graduated in 1988. She was one of my all time best students and sent me this. I removed explicit identifying materials. I have had several communication from students and other colleagues and am touched that Dr Zinn’s death triggered an association with him. It also attests to his significance in shaping the worldview of so many people.
Sent: Fri 1/29/2010 9:33 AM
To: Kirstein, Peter N.
Subject: Howard Zinn
With all of the students you have taught over the years, I am sure that you couldn’t possibly remember me, however, how could I ever forget you.
I am writing to you today to honor the life and work of Dr. Howard Zinn. I remember well the class you taught on American History using his book. It transformed the way I look at information and taught me skepticism of the status quo. When I read history, political science, or the national print media, my thoughts wander to the parts of the story that are not being told. Thank you for teaching me that.
I now work at Borders book store, everyone there knows I would rather be in the History section “working” than any other part of the store. Dr. Zinn’s book is there and whenever I recommend it or re-shelve it, I think of you.
I have recently discovered your blog and have been reading your postings. I enjoy your perspective and reading about your fight to keep freedom of speech in university classrooms.
I admire your commitment to pacifism.
I hope you are well.