Illustration of armed men in a large mob surrounding Orleans Parish Prison

The First Columbus Day Was Born of Violence — And Political Calculation

President Benjamin Harrison promoted the holiday after a mob killed 11 Italian Americans and set off a diplomatic crisis.
Vandalized Christopher Columbus statue

Columbus Day Had Value for Italian Americans — But It’s Time to Rethink It

It helped erode discrimination but also upheld racial prejudice.

The History Behind the Movement to Replace Columbus Day

Though the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day was celebrated in the early 1990s, the idea took shape many years earlier.

How Columbus Day Fell Victim to Its Own Success

It's worth remembering that the now-controversial holiday started as a way to empower immigrants and celebrate American diversity.
“The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers,” an 1885 parody of an 1850 painting by Charles Lucy.


Was the 'first Thanksgiving' merely a pretext for the bloodshed, enslavement, and displacement that would follow in later decades?

The Troubling History of the Fight to Honor Leif Erikson—Not Columbus—as the Man Who 'Discovered America'

It wasn't simply a matter of getting the history right.

Recontextualizing the Ocean Blue

Italian Americans and the commemoration of Columbus.

Columbus Day Is the Most Important Day of Every Year

Acknowledging the truth about colonialism is crucial if we want to comprehend the world around us today.
A statue of Christopher Columbus.

Middle Schoolers Take on Columbus

A lesson on contextualizing history.
Artist Titus Kaphar says that his 2014 Columbus Day Painting—which greets "Unseen" visitors in the first gallery—was inspired by his young son’s conflicted and confusing study of the putative discoverer of America.

Two Artists in Search of Missing History

A new exhibition makes a powerful statement about the oversights of American history and America’s art history.

How Columbus, Of All People, Became a National Symbol

Christopher Columbus was a narcissist.

1492: Columbus in American Memory

Columbus Day is here again -- along with the controversy over its namesake. How have earlier generations understood him?