The People Speak: A Performance Piece (Google eBook)

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Oct 13, 2009 - History - 96 pages
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To celebrate the millionth copy sold of Howard Zinn's great People's History of the United States, Zinn drew on the words of Americans -- some famous, some little known -- across the range of American history. These words were read by a remarkable cast at an event held at the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City that included James Earl Jones, Alice Walker, Jeff Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Myla Pitt, Harris Yulin, and Andre Gregory.

From that celebration, this book was born. Collected here under one cover is a brief history of America told through dramatic readings applauding the enduring spirit of dissent.

Here in their own words, and interwoven with commentary by Zinn, are Columbus on the Arawaks; Plough Jogger, a farmer and participant in Shays' Rebellion; Harriet Hanson, a Lowell mill worker; Frederick Douglass; Mark Twain; Mother Jones; Emma Goldman; Helen Keller; Eugene V. Debs; Langston Hughes; Genova Johnson Dollinger on a sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan; an interrogation from a 1953 HUAC hearing; Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper and member of the Freedom Democratic Party; Malcolm X; and James Lawrence Harrington, a Gulf War resister, among others.

  

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See the movie at www.peoplespeak.com . It's a great looking documentary!

Contents

Introductory Excerpt from
1
Columbus and Las Casas
3
Shays Rebellion
5
Lowell Mill Girl
7
Indian Removal
9
Womens Declaration of Rights
11
Frederick Douglass
15
John Brown and Frederick Douglass
17
Eugene Debs
37
The Harlem Renaissance
41
SitDown Strike at Flint
45
Catch22
51
HUAC Interrogation
53
Fannie Lou Hamer
57
Malcolm X
61
Vietnam
65

Henry Turner
21
Mark Twain
25
IWW and Lawrence Strike
29
Mother Jones
31
Emma Goldman
33
Helen Keller
35
The Womens Movement
69
Chicanos and Vietnam
71
Gulf War Resister
75
Poverty in Our Time
77
Acknowledgments
81
Copyright

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Page 20 - I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), — had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right, and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather...
Page 17 - What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned...
Page 14 - We hold these truths to be self-evident : that all men and women are created equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Page 14 - ... accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
Page 15 - Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation— in view of the unjust laws above mentioned and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.
Page 18 - This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, / must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
Page 20 - I believe that to have interfered as I have done — as I have always freely admitted I have done — in behalf of his despised poor was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions...
Page 69 - A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
Page 20 - I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done, in behalf of his despised poor, I did no wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments...
Page 17 - But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.

About the author (2009)

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, playwright, and social activist. His many books include A People's History of the United States, which has sold more than two million copies.

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