Discover this: Columbus Day isn't about ColumbusRoundup
tags: Columbus Day, Columbus
These days, a good word about Christopher Columbus is about as rare as an insult was 100 years ago.
For one thing, there's the ongoing question of whether a man can really "discover" a continent that is already inhabited. There's the much-repeated charge that he was only in it for the riches; that he was an imperialist, even that he was the founder of the Atlantic slave trade.
In the 1990s, the city of Berkeley actually gave up celebrating Columbus Day altogether and renamed it "Indigenous People's Day."
But whichever way you come down on the Columbus debate, here's the good news: Columbus Day in the United States is not really about Columbus anyway. Nor is it about 1492; in fact, it's about 1892, the year President Benjamin Harrison issued the proclamation establishing a day to honor the "400th anniversary of the discovery of America."
Before that, Columbus wasn't at the forefront of our national mythology. One hundred years earlier, the tercentenary of his landing in the New World had been barely noticed -- except in smallish gatherings...
comments powered by Disqus
- Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham on the AP Af-Am Studies Controversy
- 600 African American Studies Faculty Sign Open Letter in Defense of AP African American Studies
- Organization of American Historians Statement on AP African American Studies
- Historians on DeSantis and the Fight Over Black History
- How the Right Got Waco Wrong