Almost Lost to History, Italian American Past Unearthed in Colorado

Dec 06, 2022 327

In June 2021, mutual friends introduced Marianna Gatto — the executive director and cofounder of The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) — to Harvard-educated lawyer, law professor, and Pueblo, CO native Fred Galves. A year prior, Galves had been hired by the city of Pueblo to serve as the mediator when tensions surrounding the city’s historic Columbus monument escalated.

The conversation between Gatto and Galves promptly shifted the mediation. “What I felt was missing, sometimes from both sides, was historical context — a sense of how and why these Columbus monuments came to be,” Gatto remarked to Galves, before recounting how anti-Italianism, violence, and the experience of being a denigrated immigrant led Italian Americans to embrace Columbus, who was widely regarded as an intrepid explorer and America’s discoverer. 

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