I've always admired Howard Zinn, but it seems the radical historian wasn't all that popular with the FBI. Via Raw Story:
On Friday, the FBI released a 243-page file on Zinn, who died in January at age 87. The release describes the historian as "radical." The documents show the bureau taking an active interest in Zinn since the late 1940s, when he was a student at New York University. The interest continued through the 1950s, as Zinn worked on his PhD at Columbia University.
When the FBI again took an interest in Zinn in the 1960s, documents show the bureau evidently tried to have the historian fired from his job as professor at Boston University.In a document from the Boston FBI office (see PDF file here), an FBI "source," whose name was redacted from the publicly released documents, was quoted as being outraged over Zinn's comment at a protest that the US had become a "police state" and that prosecutions of Black Panther Party members were creating "political prisoners."
The bureau's Boston office then indicated it wanted to help the source in his or her campaign to unseat Zinn. "[The] Boston [office] proposes under captioned program with Bureau permission to furnish [name redacted] with public source data regarding Zinn's numerous anti-war activities ... in an effort to back [redacted] efforts for his removal."
The bureau's response to the request does not appear to have been included in the released documents.(Raw Story reporters will continue to mine through the documents for more details. If you want to help, you can view the FBI files here, here and here (PDF). Send us what you find to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The FBI notes that its investigations of Zinn -- three in total, over 25 years -- "ended in 1974, and no further investigation into Zinn or his activities was made by the FBI."Zinn had harsh words for the FBI during his academic career. In a paper published not long before his death, Zinn said the best thing the public could do to curb the FBI's powers was to "continue exposing them."
Of the FBI, he said, "They don’t like social movements. They work for the establishment and the corporations and the politicos to keep things as they are. And they want to frighten and chill the people who are trying to change things. So the best defense against them and resistance against them is simply to keep on fighting back, to keep on exposing them."