Hearing Voices

With a little help from James W. Loewen (author of, most notably, Lies My Teacher Told Me) and Howard Zinn (most famous for A People’s History of the United States), anyone can learn to distrust the way American history has been recorded and represented — from the point of view of victors and presidents — over the past 500 or so years. But books about history books getting it wrong are still books about history, and thus a little boring (not to mention biased).

Enter Voices of A People’s History of the United States, Zinn’s 2004 followup to his 1980 bestseller, and the DVD, CD, non-profit organization, in-production documentary and live-performance tours that accompany it. Finally: history from the perspective of the extraordinary (and extraordinarily underrepresented) voices who lived it, retold and sang by actors, musicians, celebrities and activists.

“It’s not your typical political event,” says Brenda Coughlin, a member of the Voices nonprofit, about the dramatic readings and performances. “These are actual words from history, so it has that, shall we say, bipartisan flavor to it. It’s something that anyone can get into, even kids. They may be studying the Civil War, for example, and a lot of times teachers will bring them because it’s so much more enlivening than what’s on the pages of their history books.”

See Zinn, Voices co-author Anthony Arnove, Alternative Radio host David Barsamian and a cast of Coloradans read the actual journals, speeches, personal letters and published opinion pieces of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Dalton Trumbo, Mark Twain and many, many more. It all takes place tonight at 7 p.m. in Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Tickets range from $10 to $30. Get more information at www.peopleshistory.us/events/boulder.
Wed., Oct. 8, 7 p.m., 2008

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Drew Bixby

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