In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan engaged in an assault on Italians and Catholics. The KKK opposed both Christopher Columbus and the holiday established in his honor.
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HISTORY OF KKK OPPOSITION
Attacks against Christopher Columbus and opposition to Columbus Day are nothing new to American history. In fact, in the early 20th century, one group attacked the man and the day throughout the country: the Ku Klux Klan.
Motivated by bigoted opposition to the Italian explorer and his Catholic faith, the assault came on multiple fronts. In addition to seeking a repeal of the holiday, the Klan also wrote against it and disrupted its celebration. Even a public display of a Columbus statue was opposed.
The Klan sought to oppose Columbus from coast to coast, including the following attacks:
- In the 1920s, the Klan attempted to remove Columbus Day as a state holiday in Oregon.
- In 1924, the Klan burned a cross to disturb a Columbus Day celebration in Pennsylvania.
- A Klan publication, “The American Standard,” ran an article titled “Columbus Day, A Papal Fraud” in 1924.
- In 1927, the Klan successfully opposed the erection of a statue of Columbus in Richmond, Va., only to see the decision to reject the statue reversed.
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