“If you don’t have that sense of how things have changed in the past, it would be very easy to despair about the present,” says Anthony Arnove, co-editor, along with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States. in that book, Arnove helped organize the words of historical figures, rebels and visionaries—readings that keenly showed how voices from the past can and do speak directly to the present.

Moreover, voices from the past are “resources of hope,” Arnove explains, especially when those who came and struggled in previous eras achieved what they thought they could not.

For more information, visit Voices of a People’s History and The People Speak.

—Elizabeth Whitman