In Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America (Regnery 2019), Mary Grabar, Resident Fellow of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), devotes chapter one to describing how Howard Zinn, a Marxist polemicist, “rode to fame and fortune on the ‘untold story’ of Christopher Columbus.” In A People’s History of the United States (1980), a book widely used in American classrooms at multiple levels, Zinn portrays Columbus as little more than a gold-hungry, genocidal maniac. Zinn’s untold story, as Dr. Grabar thickly documents, is based on a tissue of fraud.
Because of her best-selling exposé of Zinn’s purposefully malicious and deceitful work, Grabar received numerous invitations to lend her expertise in explaining to the public why Columbus deserves a much better fate. Vandals who have been destroying and defacing statues in Columbus’s honor often justify their actions by spouting Zinn’s “history.” For Columbus Day 2020, Grabar published several op-eds, appeared on six radio broadcasts, was a featured commentator in a documentary film produced by the Knights of Columbus, and delivered AHI’s Second Annual Columbus Day Lecture.
Her radio interviews included Janet Mefferd Today; the Kirby Wilbur Show, KVI, Seattle; the Phil Cowan Show, KTZ-AM, Sacramento, California; the Dan Proft Show AM 560 Chicago; Doc Washburn, Little Rock, News Radio 102.9 KARN-FM; and WLS Radio Chicago.
For mrcNewsbusters, a watchdog group, Grabar published an op-ed, “How an Arrogant Journalist Helped Crucify Columbus in New Haven.” She exposes the “willful ignorance and arrogance” of Randall Beach, a staff reporter and columnist of the New Haven Register, who had referenced Zinn in calling for the removal of the Columbus statue in New Haven’s Wooster Square. In describing communications with Beach and editors at the Register, Grabar concluded that the newspaper “doesn’t seem to prize honesty or intellectual rigor — it’s protecting Beach, who either is a propagandist with an agenda or is intellectually incapable of doing his job.”
For Just the News, a website devoted to “honest journalism,” Grabar published “Canceling Columbus: How It Started Years Ago, and Escalated in 2020.” In the op-ed, she argues how much of the current animus toward the public celebration of Columbus, can be “traced back” to Zinn’s book. In pointing to such readily accessible websites as Wikipedia, she notes how Zinn’s contentions about Columbus have become received wisdom. Indeed, the well-heeled Zinn Education Project has produced educational materials that offer lessons on how to abolish Columbus Day.
The Knight of Columbus, a global Catholic charitable organization devoted to helping families in need, led the way in the creation of Columbus Day as a federal holiday in 1934. In response to the burgeoning cultural revolution that seeks to stain his name and eradicate him as a worthy subject of public celebration, the Knights produced a documentary “Courage and Conviction: The True Story of Christopher Columbus.” The Knights interviewed Grabar at AHI headquarters for the film, which premiered on Columbus Day. She appears along with a number of other scholars to try to set the record straight about Columbus and to explain why he is a historical figure worthy of memorialization.
As part of a special initiative aimed at invigorating the serious and honest study of history, AHI created in 2019 an annual Columbus Day lecture series. Because of Grabar’s important work in attempting to dispel Zinn’s rubbish about Columbus, AHI President Robert Paquette invited Grabar to deliver the Second Annual Columbus Day Lecture. The video of her presentation, which dismantles step-by-step Zinn’s misrepresentations of Columbus’s heroic life, is now available on YouTube and Vimeo.
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