“In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue… The first American? No, not quite. But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.” —Jean Marzollo
Today is Columbus Day—a day once meant to celebrate the man who discovered the New World, and also to celebrate Italian Americans, who previously suffered intense and violent prejudice in the US. Christopher Columbus: explorer, visionary, leader, Catholic, world-changer. Columbus has been smeared as a racist, exploitative tyrant in recent decades, but the real man was far different—like any human, he made mistakes, but his intentions were nearly always good and, far more importantly, his actions indicated a dedication to treating every human, of every race, with respect.
Columbus was far more friendly to the natives than moderns would think. Not only that, the explorer treated them as fully human, each with a soul worthy of salvation, an attitude in which even friendly Europeans sometimes fell short.
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