Over 250 friends and family gathered Saturday at the Arlington Street Church to pay tribute to the late Howard Zinn, the longtime BU political science professor and author of the influential book, "A People's History of the United States." Zinn, who died in January at the age of 87, was more than once referred to as "Howie" by a crowd of admirers that included familiar faces from the fields of academia and entertainment. Actor Matt Damon, a former neighbor of Zinn's, was with his mom, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and his wife Luciana and daughter Alexa. Also there were Chris Moore, producer of "The People Speak," the movie based on Zinn's bestselling book, and actor Benjamin Bratt, who appears in the film. Others in attendance included "Democracy Now" host Amy Goodman, scholar Noam Chomsky, civil libertarian Harvey Silverglate and his wife, photographer, Elsa Dorfman, writer Jonathan Kozol, poets Marge Piercy and Martin Espada, Phoenix Media exec David Bieber, editor Anthony Arnove, peace activist Staughton Lynd, comedian Jimmy Tingle, "Here and Now" host Robin Young, Robert Meeropol, the son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, actor Harris Yulin, Zinn aid Janice Tumonis, composer Bernice Johnson Reagon, feminist Lydia Sargent, and Zinn's son, Jeff, and daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn. Hardly a somber affair, the service easily included as many laughs as tears. Damon said one of the last times he spent with Zinn was at the Toronto Film Festival, for a screening of "The People Speak." While the film's focus is on everyday Americans, a ticket to the screening cost $800. With a smile, Damon said Zinn could not resist pointing out the irony.
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