HomeNewsEducationAP Explains: Columbus, once immigrant hero, now heel to some Oct. 12, 2019 at 7:00 pmEducationHistoryNewsAP Explains: Columbus, once immigrant hero, now heel to someAssociated Press2 years agoNo tags By RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated PressThe image and story of Christopher Columbus, the 15th century navigator who began European incursions into the Americas, have changed in the U.S. over the decades. Columbus was an obscure figure until his adventures were revitalized in the 1800s. By the 1990s, a new generation of Native American activists blamed the navigator for launching centuries of indigenous genocide. With Columbus Day falling on Monday in the U.S. — and now being called Indigenous Peoples’ Day in some states — here’s a look at how views of Christopher Columbus have changed over the years:___THE MANBorn in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy), Columbus took part in several voyages in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas as a teenager and later participated in expeditions to Africa. Like Aristotle and others, Columbus believed that the world was round. He theorized that the distance between Spain’s Canary Islands and Japan was only around 2,300 miles (3,701 kilometers) and felt he could sail west to reach Asia for a new sought-out route for spices.It was really about 12,000 miles (19,321 kilometers). Columbus based his incorrect calculations on mystical texts, and ended up landing in the present-day Caribbean on Oct. 12, 1492.Columbus convinced Spain’s Queen Isabella to fund his voyage by promising that the riches he’d collect would be used to finance a crusade to “reclaim” Jerusalem for Christians. Instead, he found new foods, animals and indigenous people who, he wrote, were childlike and could be easily turned into slaves.As indigenous populations revolted against brutal Spanish treatment, Columbus ordered a ruthless crackdown that included having dismembered bodies being paraded in public. Eventually, Columbus was arrested on mismanagement and brutality charges and died a broken man.Around 60 years after Columbus’ arrival, the Taino indigenous population of the Caribbean had been reduced from an estimated 250,000 people to a few hundred because of slavery and death from new diseases.___RESURRECTIONColumbus remained a mostly unknown figure in the English-speaking world until Washington Irving released in 1828 his biographical account, “A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.” The romanticized version became a best-seller in the United States and helped create the image of Columbus as a self-made man who overcame great odds.Thanks to the book, Columbus grew popular and Irving’s myth played into the frontier spirit of U.S. westward expansion at the expense of Native American tribes living there.However, the book falsely claimed that it was Columbus who convinced Europeans of his time that the Earth wasn’t flat. Others had made the same claim before.___IMMIGRANT HEROBeginning in the 1860s, Italian and Irish immigrants started celebrating Columbus in local parades. They claimed him as America’s very first founding father and used his story to insert themselves into the U.S. narrative. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, Italian and Irish immigrants endured years of discrimination and exclusion from jobs and higher education.Still, some white nationalists attacked Columbus. In 1874, for example, Norwegian American scholar Rasmus Bjorn Anderson published “America Not Discovered By Columbus.” Anderson argued that the Vikings were the first Europeans to set foot in the Americas, not Columbus. The Vikings, Anderson explained, were the pure white race and Christians who started the U.S. narrative, not someone like Columbus or southern Europeans.Nonetheless, Italian Americans convinced local and state authorities to adopt Columbus Day holidays. Annual Columbus Day parades celebrated Italian American heritage and transformed into vehicles of political influence as politicians raced to participate. Meanwhile, the Native American population shrunk to its lowest numbers, and many Native Americans were barred from voting.___NATIVE AMERICAN BACKLASHHoward Zinn’s 1980 “A People’s History of the United States” introduced the general public to the atrocities committed by Columbus and his crew against indigenous people. His book mirrored the findings of other historians and ethnic studies scholars.By 1992, Columbus Day parades and holidays had transformed into an American holiday. Then a planned 500th-anniversary celebration in San Francisco of Columbus’ arrival turned into mayhem.About 4,000 protesters led by Native American activists blocked a parade of floats, marching bands and Columbus reenactors. They yelled “no to slavery and genocide” and denounced Columbus as a racist. Parade participants were hit with eggs. Authorities arrested 40 people.Since then, a new generation of Native American advocates has pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. They’ve sought to remove Columbus and other conquistador imagery from public spaces. 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Star Files See Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Height of the Storm at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre beginning on September 10. Eileen Atkins Related Shows After an acclaimed debut in London’s West End, Florian Zeller’s The Height of the Storm is set to begin Broadway performances on September 10 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce are set to star as Madeleine and André, who have been filled with the everyday pleasures and unfathomable mysteries of a 50-year-long marriage. When their life together suddenly begins to unravel, their loving relationship is faced with the inevitability of change. Atkins, Pryce, director Jonathan Kent and the rest of the cast gathered at Manhattan Theatre Club’s rehearsal studios on September 4 to meet the press ahead of the play’s Broadway bow. Take a look at the photos, and then see the show for yourself! Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 24, 2019 View Comments The Height of the Storm Jonathan Pryce
Rep. Stephanie Clayton (second from left) says end-of-session tactics yielded suboptimal results.Editor’s note: Throughout the week, we’ll be running columns from northeast Johnson County’s legislators sharing their thoughts on the key takeaways from this year’s regular session. Today we bring you Rep. Stephanie Clayton’s thoughts:The Kansas Legislative Session concluded in the middle of the night last Sunday after passing a number of bills, the most important and concerning of which is the budget reconciliation bill.The recently-passed budget signifies everything that is wrong with the way that your state government currently functions. While some members of the state legislature praised the 73-day session for its brevity, that frantic pace gave me cause for alarm. An all-too-common tactic used by leadership in both chambers to pass poor legislation is to deprive lawmakers of sleep, information, and the opportunity to return home to hear from constituents. The legislative body was pressured to, and eventually voted to, suspend a rule that stated all work should stop after midnight. (I did not vote in favor of this suspension). In addition to this, a dizzying amount of legislation was passed in the final hours of the legislative session in order to procure votes on this budget, a sort of if-then set of sweetheart deals made in haste, over a weekend, and in the dead of night, while you, the taxpayers, were sleeping.As a result, a budget was passed that violated the legislature’s constitutional obligation to balance the budget, swept large amounts of money from the fund meant to repair, maintain, and expand highways, delayed payments to the State Employee Retirement Plan until 2018, and slashed higher education funding by 17 percent. This unbalanced budget is on its way to the Governor for his consideration, and passes the responsibility of making an additional 3 percent of cuts to his office. The full budget bill was not available for us to read at the time of the vote. There was, of course, no way that the poor staff in the Statehouse could have time to produce the entire bill in such a short amount of time, but, it is inexcusable that a vote was taken on a bill that did not yet exist in its full form. None of the members of the northeast Johnson County delegation voted to abdicate our power of the purse to the administrative branch, and I am proud to serve with those who steadfastly adhere to their constitutional duties under pressure. The region is fortunate to be represented by those who refuse to vote for a bill and wait to find out what is in it later. The Governor now has the bill in its full form, and I would like to invite you all to contact his office and ask him to exercise his power to line-item veto portions of the bill of which you may disapprove. I recently spoke with a constituent of mine who is pushing for a veto of the cuts to higher education. Please remember that many voices joined together can make a difference, and perhaps, together, we can improve a bad bill. I enjoy hearing from you. If you have any questions, you can call me, email me at [email protected], or attend my monthly legislative forum at Foo’s this Saturday, May 14th, at 10 a.m. Thank you for allowing me to serve.