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August 03, 2010 10:00 AM A People’s History of the BU Political Science Department

By Daniel Luzer

Zinn2.jpg

Last week the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted that it tracked Howard Zinn, the leftist scholar who taught for many years at Boston University, from 1949 to 1974. According to the FBI, the organization has,

released one file with three sections totaling 423 pages on Howard Zinn, a best selling radical historian, teacher, playwright, and political activist.
Zinn became involved in a number of left-wing political causes, some of them associated with the activities of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn (FBI File # 100-360217). The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s.

America’s internal intelligence agency declined to say whether it appeared its longtime surveillance of Zinn was in any way regrettable. Justin Elliott over at Salon notes that the FBI had “apparently no evidence that he ever committed a crime.”

Zinn died in January.[Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer