Lunchtime Keynote: Dr. Clayborne Carson

Carson_Clayborne_credit_to_Michael_CollopyscaledThe recent movie Selma rekindled an interest in the Civil Rights Movement, and #Black Lives Matter reminds us of unfinished business. We can think of no better keynote than Dr. Clayborn Carson to help connect today’s struggles to historical currents.In each of his books, Dr. Carson provides a politically rigorous look at histories too often whitewashed. Those new to his work should check out these groundbreaking books:

  • In Struggle : SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s
  • The Black Panthers Speak
  • The Struggle for Freedom: A History of African Americans
  • Malcolm X: The FBI File

From Clayborne Carson, the general editorial advisor to the King Legacy, is professor of history and founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. During 2009 he also served as the King Distinguished Professor at Morehouse College and the first executive director of that institution’s King Collection. He has been a visiting professor or visiting fellow at American University, the University of California, Berkeley, Emory University, Harvard University, and the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

During his undergraduate years at UCLA, Dr. Carson participated in civil rights and antiwar protests, and many of his subsequent writings reflect his experiences by stressing the importance of grassroots political activity within the African-American freedom struggle. His first book, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s, remains the definitive history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most dynamic and innovative civil rights organization. Published in 1981, In Struggle won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award. His other publications include Malcolm X: The FBI File. He is co-author of African American Lives: The Struggle for Freedom, a comprehensive survey of African-American history. Dr. Carson also served as senior advisor for a fourteen-part, award-winning, public television series on the civil rights movement entitled “Eyes on the Prize” and co-edited the Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader. In addition, he served as historical advisor for “Freedom on My Mind,” which was nominated for an Oscar in 1995, as well as for “Chicano!”, “Blacks and Jews”, “Citizen King”, “Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power”, and “Have You Heard from Johannesburg?” a multipart documentary about the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa.

In 1985 he was invited by Coretta Scott King to direct a long-term project to edit and publish the definitive multivolume edition, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., that includes many of King’s speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings. This project is being conducted under the auspices of the King Institute at Stanford in association with the King Center and the King Estate. In addition to these volumes, he has written or co-edited numerous other works based on the papers, including A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.; The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., compiled from King’s autobiographical writings; and A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Institute’s enormously popular website — — reaches a diverse, global audience, and the Liberation Curriculum initiative that Dr. Carson conceived has become a major source of educational materials about King and the ongoing struggles to achieve peace with social justice.

Dr. Carson wrote “Passages of Martin Luther King,” a play that was initially produced by Stanford’s Drama Department in 1993.  Passages of Martin Luther King recreates the journey of the young King to the mature King, from youthful clergyman to passionate advocate for world peace. The play formed the basis for the award-winning Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.. It has been performed at various locations across the country, and made its international premiere on June 21, 2007, at the Beijing Oriental Pioneer Theatre performed by the National Theatre of China. Full houses viewed the four subsequent performances of the first drama to bring together Chinese actors and African-American gospel singers.

Dr. Carson also collaborated with the Roma Design Group of San Francisco to create the winning proposal in an international competition to design the national King memorial now being built in Washington, D. C.

Among the many honors and awards Dr. Carson has received, the honorary degree he received in 2007 from Morehouse College had special meaning, because it made him part of the community of Morehouse Men that includes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sr.

Dr. Carson has lectured at more than a hundred colleges and universities in nearly every state as well as in more than a dozen nations. He has also appeared on many national radio and television shows, including Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, The NewsHour, Fresh Air, Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, and Marketplace. Dr. Carson has also participated in dramatic readings based on his play “Passages of Martin Luther King.” For many years, he has delivered lectures on behalf of the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program.

The Early Slice: First Reading Announcements for 2015!

The Howard Zinn Book Fair is happy to announce just a few of the exciting events for November 15th, 2015. We are actively accepting submissions until August 1, 2015.

2346_regReading: Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, The New York Young Lords and the Struggle For Liberation.

The Young Lords was a multi-ethnic, though primarily Nuyorican, liberation organization that formed in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in July of 1969. Responding to oppressive approaches to the health, educational, and political needs of the Puerto Rican community, the movement’s revolutionary activism included organized protests and sit-ins targeting such concerns as trash pickups and lead paint hazards. The Young Lords advanced a thirteen-point political program that demanded community control of their institutions and land and challenged the exercise of power by the state and outsider-run institutions.

In The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano details the numerous community initiatives that advanced decolonial sensibilities in El Barrio and beyond. Using archival research and interviews, he crafts an engaging account of the Young Lords’ discourse and activism. He rescues the organization from historical obscurity and makes an argument for its continued relevance, enriching and informing contemporary discussions about Latino/a politics.

9781933149912Multimedia: Rachel Cassandra and Lauren Gucik, Women Street Artists of Latin America

In this groundbreaking, in-depth look at a rarely explored perspective of street art, more than twenty female artists from seven nations in Latin America discuss themes of social justice, artist process, community, visibility, feminism, and more. A bilingual edition packed with full-color photographs and interviews, this revealing exploration of contemporary street art includes work from Colombia, Peru, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. Viva!

Beyond Recognition WEBScreening: Beyond Recognition

After decades struggling to protect her ancestors’ burial places, now engulfed by San Francisco’s sprawl, a Native woman from a non-federally recognized Ohlone tribe and her allies occupy a sacred site to prevent its desecration. When this life-altering event fails to stop the development, they vow to follow a new path- to establish the first women-led urban Indigenous land trust. Beyond Recognition explores the quest to preserve one’s culture and homeland in a society bent on erasing them.

Shattering stereotypes, this half hour film tells the inspiring story of women creating opportunities amid a system that fractures Native communities across the nation. Through cinéma vérité, interviews, and stunning footage of the land, Beyond Recognition introduces Corrina Gould, Johnella LaRose, and Indian People Organizing for Change as they embark on an incredible journey to transform the way we see cities. The film invites viewers to examine their own relationship to place, revealing histories that have been buried by shifting landscapes. Beyond Recognition points to the intersection of human rights, women’s rights, and environmental protection, spotlighting a California story that has national and worldwide resonance.

image_miniReading: Dennis Childs: Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration From the Chain Gang to the Penitentary

Dennis Childs argues that the incarceration of black people and other historically repressed groups in chain gangs, peon camps, prison plantations, and penitentiaries represents a ghostly perpetuation of chattel slavery. He exposes how the Thirteenth Amendment’s exception clause—allowing for enslavement as “punishment for a crime”—has inaugurated forms of racial capitalist misogynist incarceration that serve as haunting returns of conditions Africans endured in the barracoons and slave ship holds of the Middle Passage, on plantations, and in chattel slavery.

Childs seeks out the historically muted voices of those entombed within terrorizing spaces such as the chain gang rolling cage and the modern solitary confinement cell, engaging the writings of Toni Morrison and Chester Himes as well as a broad range of archival materials, including landmark court cases, prison songs, and testimonies, reaching back to the birth of modern slave plantations such as Louisiana’s “Angola” penitentiary. Slaves of the State paves the way for a new understanding of chattel slavery as a continuing social reality of U.S. empire—one resting at the very foundation of today’s prison industrial complex that now holds more than 2.3 million people within the country’s jails, prisons, and immigrant detention centers.

87286100228580MMultimedia: Miriam Klein Stahl and Kate Schatz: Rad American Women A-Z.

Like all A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet—but instead of “A is for Apple”, A is for Angela—as in Angela Davis, the iconic political activist. B is forBillie Jean King, who shattered the glass ceiling of sports; C is for Carol Burnett, who defied assumptions about women in comedy; D is for Dolores Huerta, who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

And the list of great women continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse individuals. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.  American history was made by countless rad—and often radical—women. By offering a fresh and diverse array of female role models, we can remind readers that there are many places to find inspiration, and that being smart and strong and brave is rad. Rad American Women A to Z will be appreciated by various age groups. It is Common Core aligned for students grades 3 – 8. Pre-school and young children will be captured by the bright visuals and easily modified texts, while the subject matter will stimulate and inspire high-schoolers and beyond.

thScreenplay reading: Terry Bisson and actors: Kansas Brown: John Brown in Kansas

Legendary author Terry BissonsStaged 50 minute screenplay KANSAS BROWN film script covering Battles of Osawatomie, Black Jack and Lawrence, plus the massacre in the Swamp of the Swan. Historically accurate picture of the great abolitionist inspiring and leading the free-state forces and preventing Kansas from entering the Union as a slave state. Precursor to the Civil War (1859).

Two New HZB 2015 Academic Sponsors

We are excited to welcome two new academic sponsors of the Howard Zinn Book Fair 2015! Both the Labor and Community Studies Department of City College of San Francisco and the Anthropology and Social Change Department of the California Institute for Integral Studies contribute everyday to the building and understanding of People’s History.

The Labor and Community Studies Department of City  of San Francisco provides members of San Francisco labor unions and community organizations and other interested  with a comprehensive introduction to the role and contributions of organized labor and communities to American society.

Anthropology and Social Change Department of the California Institute for Integral Studies  is unique among graduate programs in the United States due to its focus on activist anthropology.We believe that anthropologists should analyze, discuss, and explore the possible; that they should research alternative institutions; that they need to collectively reflect and debate the dilemmas of other possible worlds. This collective effort of understanding “real utopias” takes the form of analytic and ethnographic study of existing alternatives in the present.

Call for Proposals: Second Annual Howard Zinn Bookfair 2015

The second annual Howard Zinn Book Fair will be held on November 14th, 2015 in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are currently accepting proposals for readings, workshops and panels. We’re especially interested in conversations about the radical potential of People’s History and aim to be radically inclusive of many left political traditions and communities.

You can make a proposal by visiting this quick survey: Call for Proposals: Second Annual Howard Zinn Bookfair 2015.

A Book Fair volunteer will respond to you no later than June 2015. Questions? Feel free to drop us a line at

Note on elevator access and apology.

We want to thank every one of the over 1100 people who made the Book Fair an inspiring success. We also want to acknowledge that due to several factors, elevator service was delayed for many people who needed it to fully participate in the day. Please accept our apologies and know that this issue will not occur at any future HZB event. If you have any questions about this, please email

Join us for the People’s Plenary!

immediately following the Howard Zinn Book Fair at 5:30, Mission High School Auditorium

Following the First Annual Howard Zinn Book Fair, please join us for the People’s Plenary– a celebration of the ways we find hope in difficult times. Our MC will be Nina Serrano, host of KPFA’s La Raza Chronicles. Keynote speakers are reknowned authors Robin DG Kelley and Rebecca Solnit,  Performances by: Dregs 1 (Hip-Hop), La Collectiva (Popular Theater, Walidah Imarisha (Poet) and Aimmee Suzara (Poetry).

Robin DG Kelley will award our first annual People’s Plenary Award to the Marcus Bookstore community. Until their eviction this year, Marcus Books was the longest-open Black bookstore in the United States. The campaign to save it brought international attention to the displacement crisis in San Francisco as well as Black out-migration.

The People’s Plenary also includes readers inspired by the Voices of the People’s History of the United States, a Howard Zinn edited collection of speeches from organizers, visionaries and troublemakers from throughout history. Voices guests include Supervisor Eric Mar, USF Professor Rachel Brahinsky and Labor Organizer Maria Guillen, and activist Eric Talbert.