Voices of a People's History of the United States in the 21st Century: Documents of Hope and Resistance (Paperback)
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Twenty-first century social movements come to life through speeches, essays, and other documents of activism, protest, and social change.
Gathering more than 100 texts from social movements that have shaped the 21st century, this powerful book includes contributions from Angela Y. Davis, Nick Estes, Colin Kaepernick, Rebecca Solnit, Christian Smalls, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Howard Zinn, Rev. William Barber, Bree Newsome, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Tarana J. Burke, Dream Defenders, Sins Invalid, Mariame Kaba, Naomi Klein, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Linda Sarsour, Chelsea E. Manning, Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, Julian Brave NoiseCat, H. Melt, and others.
Inspired by the original Voices of a People’s History of the United States, the book features speeches, essays, poems, and calls to action from Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Indigenous struggles, immigrant rights activists, the environmental movement, disability justice organizers, and frontline workers during the global pandemic who spoke out against the life-threatening conditions of their labor. Together, their words remind us that history is made not only by the rich and powerful, but by ordinary people taking collective action.
About the Author
ANTHONY ARNOVE is the editor of several books, including, with Howard Zinn, Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He wrote the introduction for the thirty-fifth anniversary edition of Zinn’s classic book A People’s History of the United States. Arnove cofounded the nonprofit education and arts organization Voices of a People’s History of the United States, wrote, directed, and produced the documentary The People Speak, and has directed stage and television versions of The People Speak in Dublin with Stephen Rea, in London with Colin Firth, and across the United States with various arts groups including Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Sundance Film Festival. He produced the Academy Award–nominated documentary Dirty Wars. Arnove is on the editorial boards of Haymarket Books and Tempestmag.org and is the director of Roam Agency, where he represents authors including Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky. He lives in Hopewell, New Jersey.
HALEY PESSIN is a socialist activist living in Queens, New York. They have participated in struggles against police brutality and mass incarceration, in solidarity with Palestine, in defense of abortion rights and reproductive justice, and as a legal service worker and union delegate for 1199SEIU (Service Employees International Union). Pessin has spoken at conferences in Switzerland, Australia, Ireland, Quebec, and throughout the United States on the struggle for Black liberation. Their writing has appeared in New Politics and at Tempestmag.org, where they currently serve on the editorial board.
"Howard Zinn made a unique contribution to civilizing the country. This collection of inspiring voices from the struggles is a fitting complement to his incomparable legacy." —Noam Chomsky
“A profound collection. I bounded back and forth through the book, proud to see my peers, shocked by many of the new voices, comforted by old ones. This bracing and essential edition of Voices slices through the blare of the demagogues and disinformation merchants with their clear-ringing words of truth, power, and clarity. This new century, with its clamorous dangers, horrors, and threats, has also brought us so many fresh new voices of hope. Let this radiant multitude ground you, renew you, and rouse you to making the expansive world we all want.” —Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
"Documenting two decades of activism from Occupy Wall Street to the #MeToo movement to the uprisings for Black lives and a resurgent labor movement, these urgent, vibrant voices are a bulwark against hopelessness and a reminder that always and everywhere, even under the harshest conditions, people organize collectively on behalf a more just world. Facing state-sanctioned murder, Troy Davis calls on supporters to keep pushing for an end to the death penalty. When COVID-19 plunges the planet into a public health crisis, Christian Smalls demands stronger workplace protections and a union for Amazon’s 'essential workers.' In the wake of ongoing and intensifying police violence, Mariame Kaba pushes for abolition. In gathering the words of these and dozens more activists and authors, Arnove and Pessin offer a crucial contribution to a historical record and an essential antidote to despair." —Emily Drabinski, American Library Association President 2023–24
"Howard Zinn challenged us to see history as near and everyday; Anthony Arnove and Haley Pessin now tenderly extend this proximity. Their collection helps us to see the ordinary extraordinariness in people around us: the world-making of our very own time." —E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker
"What a marvelous resource. A follow-up to the original Voices of a People’s History of the United States, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, this volume collects short poems, stories, speeches, news articles, and testimonies from people working to make this a better world — a “radiant multitude” of voices, as Jeff Chang says in his supportive blurb for the book. This is the “people’s history” that Howard Zinn celebrated — a festival of resistance since the turn of the century. The book features rebels and prophets from the movements organizing for a different country: antiwar, solidarity, immigrant rights, Black Lives Matter, feminist, LGBTQ, workers’ rights, and more. Rachel Corrie describes her solidarity work in Gaza; Bree Newsome explains why she ripped down the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina State Capitol building; Winona La Duke denounces the repression of Water Protectors in Minnesota and around the world; disability justice activist, Luticha Doucette, talks back to the daily indignities she encounters in “If You’re in a Wheelchair, Segregation Lives”; and Rethinking Schools’ own Jesse Hagopian delivers a powerful speech at a 2021 #TeachTruth rally. At a moment when the right wing seeks to crush any act or idea that leans toward equality and inclusion, this book offers teachers a thrilling compendium of classroom-friendly social justice readings." —Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools
"Continuing the pioneering work of Howard Zinn begun in 1980 with A People’s History of the United States, this volume gives voice to those who have challenged oppression, exploitation, and injustice by participating in social-justice movements in the twenty-first century, covering a wide variety of topics in 12 chapters. Among the topics are fighting war and injustice, Occupy Wall Street, the Ferguson uprising, Black Lives Matter, dismantling white supremacy, resisting Trumpism and the far right, working for trans and gay rights, and climate change. The entries are all primary sources—letters or texts of speeches or addresses, for example—and are generally short, impassioned, often colloquial, but always clear and eloquent. From Troy Davis’ impactful letter to his lawyers just prior to his execution for a crime he did not commit, to Ursula LeGuin’s moving acceptance speech for the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters award, the pieces included here provide a necessary corrective to our generally whitewashed history. Finishing with detailed permissions by chapter and an unseen index, this is a must-purchase for public, university and college, and high-school libraries.
"YA/C:Student researchers will find primary sources from those who have challenged injustice by participating in social justice movements in the twenty-first century." —Kirkus Reviews