Bill Bigelow

Bill Bigelow

Bill Bigelow taught high school social studies in Portland, Oregon for almost 30 years. He is the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and the co-director of the Zinn Education Project. This project offers free materials to teach people’s history and an “If We Knew Our History” article series. Bigelow is author or co-editor of numerous books, including A People’s History for the Classroom and The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration, and most recently, A People's Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis.

Articles by this author

Twenty-five years ago, I wrote an article, “Once Upon a Genocide,” reviewing the major children’s literature about Columbus. My conclusion was that these books teach young readers that colonialism and racism are normal. Views
Friday, October 06, 2017
Christopher Columbus: No Monuments for Murderers
A New York Times article, following the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the murder of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer, described the growing calls to remove monuments that celebrate the Confederacy. The article went on to cite some who balk, however, when “the...
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Friday, April 28, 2017
Jeff Sessions to Pacific Islanders: ‘Your Lives Are Worthless’
Speaking on a conservative talk radio show last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions denounced a decision issued by Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, blocking Trump’s Muslim travel ban: “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops...
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Monday, April 03, 2017
Arkansas' Howard Zinn Witch-Hunt Fizzles
Last week nearly 700 Arkansas teachers and school librarians received copies of books by Howard Zinn—thanks to a right-wing state representative. Well, not exactly. But here’s the story. Recently, Republican Kim Hendren, introduced legislation that would prohibit teachers in all public schools or...
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Friday, March 17, 2017
The Real Irish-American Story Not Taught in Schools
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing. Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore...
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Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Support Indigenous Rights: Abolish Columbus Day
The movement to abolish Columbus Day and to establish in its place Indigenous Peoples Day continues to gather strength, as every month new school districts and colleges take action. This campaign has been given new momentum as Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas assert their treaty and human...
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Endorses Teaching 'Climate Justice'
In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country’s first comprehensive “climate justice” resolution. The school board voted unanimously to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human...
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Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Real Irish-American Story Not Taught in Schools
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing. Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore...
Read more
Views
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Time to Abolish Columbus Day
Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop. Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved...
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The Real Irish-American Story Not Taught in Schools
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing. Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Five Years After: Long Live Howard Zinn
Today—Jan. 27—marks five years since the death of the great historian and activist Howard Zinn . Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what Howard would say about something—the growth of the climate justice movement, #BlackLivesMatter, the new Selma film, the killings at the Charlie Hebdo offices...
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