Columbus Day Origins

The 1891 Massacre of Italians in New Orleans and the Contributions of the Knights of Columbus were the foundations to Columbus Day as a Federal Holiday and Statues

Columbus Day Beginnings

After the 1891 Massacre of Italians in New Orleans, President Harrison decided in 1892 to increase the planned 400th anniversary of Columbus Day. Planning for The Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893 was already in progress.

The efforts of the Knights of Columbus from the 1890s inspired President FDR to make Columbus Day a Federal Holiday.

The Knights were very involved with building warming huts for troops during World War I. Following the war the Knights helped shut down the Second Coming of the KKK and funded projects by the NAACP to help reduce racism against African-Americans. One project was funding the printing of the book: “The Gift of Black Folk.”


The Gulf Coast Italian Society hosts an annual Columbus Day Dinner.

In Savannah, GA the Italian Heritage Society hosts an annual Dinner.

The Columbus Statue Richmond Virginia was vandalized and later returned to the local Italian Community. Link to GO FUND ME Page to restore Monument