ISR guide to The People Speak

December 11, 2009

An amazing list of actors, musicians and other performers--among them, Matt Damon, Sandra Oh, Eddie Vedder and Danny Glover--have come together for The People Speak, a documentary inspired by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's anthology Voices of a People's History of the United States.

In the film, which premiers on the History Channel December 13, America's hidden history of resistance--the speeches, letters, testimonies and writings of men and women who spoke out and struggled against war, oppression and injustice--has been recreated for a new generation ready to make their own history.

Some of the figures featured will be familiar to many people: Martin Luther King Jr., whose 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam" is performed by actor Danny Glover; or Susan B. Anthony, addressing the judge in an 1873 courtroom where she faced charges of "unlawful suffrage," performed by actors Christina Kirk and Josh Brolin.

Others won't be as familiar: socialist Eugene Debs' Canton, Ohio, speech against the First World War, or Camilo Mejía's 2005 statement on GI resistance to Iraq war.

Here, Annie Levin has assembled a list of articles from the archives of the International Socialist Review magazine that relate to the historical events or people referenced in The People Speak. Most of the articles are available online--those that aren't can be ordered at the ISR Web site.

The Native American struggle

Michele Bollinger | Leonard Peltier and the Indian Struggle for Freedom

Peter Lamphere | The Life of Tecumseh: A Native War of Independence

American revolutions

Leighton Christiansen | Blacks and the American Revolution. Not available online, order a back issue of ISR 16.

Annie Zirin | We The People? The Birth of the U.S. Constitution

Ashley Smith | All On Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery. Not available online, order a back issue of ISR 8.

Radicals and socialists in history

Bill Roberts | Eugene Debs and American Socialism

Lance Selfa | Emma Goldman: A Life of Controversy

Helen Scott | The Mark Twain They Didn't Teach Us in School

The labor movement

Interview with James Green | Remembering May Day and the Fight for Eight Hours

Sharon Smith | The 1930s: Turning Point for U.S. Labor

War and resistance to war

Lance Selfa | U.S. Imperialism: A Century of Slaughter

Eugene V. Debs | The Canton, Ohio Speech

Ashley Smith | World War Two: The Good War?

Mikki Smith | Hiroshima Was No Longer a City

Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for opposing the First World War
Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for opposing the First World War

Joe Allen | Vietnam: The War the U.S. Lost (part one of three articles)

Dave Zirin | The Hidden History of Muhammad Ali

Lance Selfa | The 1991 Gulf War: Establishing a New World Order

Howard Zinn | November 2001 Speech Against the U.S. War on Afghanistan

The McCarthy era

Joe Allen | Dress Rehearsal for McCarthyism

William Keach | Rehabilitating McCarthyism

Elizabeth Schulte | The Trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Black freedom struggle

Lance Selfa | Slavery and the Origins of Racism

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor | W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Reconstruction in America 1860–1880

Ahmed Shawki | The Roots of the Civil Rights Movement

Aaron Hess and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field | Civil Rights Betrayed: How the Democratic Party Shut Out the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Brian Jones | Martin Luther King's Last Fight

Dan Georgakas | Revolutionary Struggles of Black Workers in the 1960s

Social movements of the 1960s and their impact

Sherry Wolf | Stonewall: The Birth of Gay Power

Sharon Smith | Where Have All the Liberals Gone? A Historical Perspective

Review: Television

The People Speak, produced by Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Josh Brolin and Anthony Arnove, airs Sunday, December 13, at 8 p.m. EST on the History Channel

Jen Roesch | Turning Back the Clock: Women, Work and the Family

Further Reading

From the archives