Christopher Columbus And The Daughters of Italianita`: An Often Overlooked Aspect of This Holiday

Oct 14, 2019 319

BY: Rosario A. Iaconis

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday in 1937, he hailed the Admiral of the Ocean Sea as a “brave navigator” whose voyage “was the culmination of years of bold speculation, careful preparation, and struggle against opponents who had belittled his great plan and thwarted its execution.”

These are the selfsame qualities epitomized by Columbus’ female counterparts through the ages — the daughters of italianita` — who have blazed a trail of discovery in the tradition of Mother Cabrini, Maria Montessori, Ella Grasso, and Geraldine Ferraro. Not to mention the radical activism of Maria Barbieri , Maria Roda, Ersilia Grandi, and Annie Lo Pizzo. Yearning for labor equality and social justice, Barbieri issued “Ribelliamoci” (Let’s Rebel!), they issued an eloquent, if incendiary, call to action in 1905.

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