“I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements, but to think that history writing must simply recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. And if history is to be creative, if it’s to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I think, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win.”
“I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in the solid centuries of warfare.”
Howard Zinn, concluding his acceptance speech for Le prix des Amis du Monde diplomatique (a literary award given by the French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique), 1st December 2003.
If you aren’t familiar with Zinn’s writing on history, the quote above should be enough to make you curious.