Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff
A Young People's History of the United States brings to US history the viewpoints of workers, slaves, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whose stories, and their impact, are rarely included in books for young people. Beginning with a look at Christopher Columbus's arrival through the eyes of the Arawak Indians, then leading the reader through the struggles for worker's rights, women's rights, and civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ending with the current protests against continued American imperialism, Zinn presents a radical new way of understanding America's history. In so doing, he reminds readers that America’s true greatness is shaped by our dissident voices, not our military generals.
Check out our A Young People's History of the United States Lesson Plan here.
For more information about A Young People's History of the United States, and for access to a plethora of other resources about Howard Zinn's work and legacy, please visit The Zinn Education Project.
Watch Rebecca Stefoff on the history of the fight for student rights, read from A Young People's History of the United States:
Collected inFor Young PeopleReading list for a revolutionary education, for both children and adults Radicalize the Kid's TableThe Best of Howard ZinnGive the gift of leftist literature.Black History; Black LiberationStand Up For What's Right!Stuff You Won't Learn in SchoolBooks for TeensBooks for Middle Grade ReadersKid's Books from Adult Authors, Artists, and Poets
Who needs Trump's 1776 Commission? Certainly not us. Kids deserve more than nationalist propaganda. They deserve to learn a complete history of the United States of the people and for the people. And we can help.
To teach a people’s history is to consider the historical perspective of the marginalized and the oppressed. It is to acknowledge the historical impact of people from all backgrounds; to share the groundbreaking cultural and political contributions of everyday people, not just the stories promoted by (and beneficial to) those in power. When we teach history from this perspective, we can uncover a better understanding of how our present came to be. By sharing these stories, we equip children with the foundation needed to make lasting, meaningful change in our society –– for the good of all of us.
Young people have been making important contributions to history for centuries. To take a few examples from Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States: There's Anyokah, the child who helped bring written language to her Cherokee people. There are the young laborers who—to the benefit of their peers toiling in cotton mills, canneries, and mines—stood up for themselves with the National Child Labor Committee's Declaration of Dependence. And there's John Tinker, the high school student who fought all the way to the Supreme Court for freedom of expression at school—and won. Our mission with the For Young People series is not to talk down to the young, but to make accessible versions of some of the best books around, and thereby giving young people the facts and inspiration they may need in order to lift their voices up.
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A Young People's History of the United States Lesson Plan