Howard Zinn Book Fair

Christopher Columbus was celebrated intensely throughout my childhood. In second grade we moved cutouts of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria across a wall to mark their journey across the Atlantic. We read heroic and romantic tales about the settlers, Jamestown, and the famous Thanksgiving feast with the natives. Though murmurs of Columbus’ misgivings would surface occasionally, he was presented as the father of America and that’s the way it stayed until I read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. In the first chapter Zinn launches into enslavement, violence and disease. I was shocked and mad. Why were we systematically lied to in school for all those years? Howard Zinn opened my (albeit, idealistic 18-year-old) eyes to many injustices that I couldn’t look away from. I had the fortune of seeing him speak before he passed and was surprised when he appeared onstage with an attitude that was less revolutionary and more affable grandfather, but his words resonated without fire and brimstone.

This weekend the Howard Zinn Bookfair reconvenes for its second year to honor People’s History, Past Present and Future. Listen, participate, and engage with authors, zinesters, bloggers and publishers this Sunday as they gather for a day of readings, panel discussions and workshops. Explore the value of dissident histories in the spirit of the great late historian and hear stories of everyday people who have risen to propose a world beyond empires big and small. Bay Area author Rebecca Solnit and co-founder of the #blacklivesmatter movement Alicia Garza will be among the many strong voices in attendance. It’s easy to be jaded; we’re bombarded with both catastrophic news and vapid nonsense all day, making detaching from it all sadly simple. But we can make a difference, just look at what’s happening to Columbus Day lately.

If You Go:

When: Sunday, November 15th from 10am to 6pm

Where: City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus 1125 Valencia Street

Cost: Free