The Movement to Eliminate Columbus Day Spreads Across the U.S.
The establishment of Columbus Day as a national holiday occurred in 1937 at a time when Catholics and Italians continued to endure harsh discrimination in America. The Knights of Columbus rallied for Columbus Day as a way to change the perception of Catholics and Italians as second-class citizens.
A noble idea, perhaps. But, let’s be clear; Columbus did not discover America. People lived in North and South America for centuries before the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria set sail. Columbus did land in the Caribbean Islands, including the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti, where he spread diseases and kidnapped and enslaved the natives.
Generations of Americans were taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America in elementary school. I’m pleased that the 10-year-old, 5th-grader I spoke to yesterday, however, was taught the truth.
National Geographic is another source of the truth, “Christopher Columbus was a 15th and 16th-century explorer credited for connecting the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) and the New World (North America and South America). Born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451, Columbus made his way to Spain, where he gained support from the Spanish monarchy. He persuaded King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I to sponsor his quest to find a westward route to China, India, and Japan—lands then known as the Indies.”
He did land on the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. His fleet also came across and landed on Caribbean islands, including modern-day Cuba and Haiti, which Columbus believed were the Indies.
Columbus also continued to believe that he had found a route to Asia, despite the increasing evidence that proved otherwise—a denial that would severely tarnish his reputation. While Columbus obtained great wealth from his expeditions, he became an outcast and died of age-related causes on May 20, 1506, in Valladolid, Spain.”
Several states and cities, most recently, Dallas, Texas, and Washington, DC, have chosen to recognize, or officially acknowledge, our continent’s first people—the original, indigenous inhabitants, in place of Columbus:
States: Minnesota, Vermont, Alaska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Vermont, and Maine.
Cities: Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles County, CA, Berkeley, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, San Fernando, CA, Burbank, CA, Long Beach, CA, San Luis Obispo, CA, Ventura, CA, Watsonville, CA; Denver, CO, Durango, CO, Boulder, CO; Moscow, ID; Davenport, IA; Lawrence, KS, Wichita, KS; Belfast, ME, Bangor, ME, Orono, ME, Brunswick, ME, Portland, ME; Cambridge, MA, Amherst, MA, Northampton, MA, Ann Arbor, MI, Traverse City, MI, Alpena, MI, East Lansing, MI, Ypsilanti, MI; Durham, NH, Albuquerque, NM, Santa Fe, NM, Minneapolis, MN, Grand Rapids, MN, St. Paul, MN., Asheville, N.C., Carrboro, N.C.; Newstead, NY, Village of Lewiston, NY, Ithaca, NY; Oberlin, OH; Anadarko, OK, Norman, OK, Tulsa, OK, Tahlequah, OK; Portland, OR, Eugene, OR; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX, Bexar County, TX, Dallas, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; Harpers Ferry, WV; Alexandria, VA; Seattle, WA, Olympia, WA, Spokane, WA, Bainbridge Island, WA; Madison, WI, Milwaukie, WI.
All original art work on this blog was created by Paula Nourse.