Grand Knight’s Blog – October 2020
Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: A virtual Zoom Conference
Log in with this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89497475792
In case you get lost, the meeting id is: 894 974 757 92
You can also participate by calling in by telephone. Dial 1-929-205-6099 and enter meeting id number
Activities Since Last Meeting
- Tootsie Roll Campaign. Although Mike Gibson tried valiantly to reconstruct a COVID-19 version of the Campaign for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, and scheduled times with the Parishes for us to stand at a distance at the exits of all Masses with collection baskets conveniently – but safely — placed nearby, the graduation of Marlborough to a “Red Zone” pre-empted his efforts and the cause was abandoned. Thanks to Mike for his effort, and Fr. Steven for his cooperation, until it all unraveled and became impossible.
- New Faithful Navigator. Congratulations to Mike Gibson will be installed October 15 as Faithful Navigator of the McSweeney Assembly of Fourth Degree Knights.
- Financial Secretary Position Open. We are still taking applications if anybody is interested in the Financial Secretary position. Although it sounds complicated, if you can log into your Facebook account and balance a checkbook, you have the skills. Please le the Grand Knight know.
- McGivney’s Beatification. Our founder, Fr. Michael McGivney, will be beatified on October 31st. If he makes it to canonization, he will be the first American born priest to sainthood. Keep up the prayers.
- What Columbus Day Really Means. Yesterday, I saw in the news that some people tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus in demonstration against racism. These poor misguided people have no idea that the Columbus Day holiday was created by President Harrison in 1892 as an effort to combat racism in America. This month’s Grand Knight’s Blog has an Addendum Page so you can read more about it.
Programs and Upcoming Events
- Home of Divine Mercy Vocational Training Institute. Fr. Evarist has made an appeal for funds to accelerate the construction of the dormitory building before the rainy season sets in. Rich Pulice and Dale Dolesh presented a written motion to donate $5,000 and the Grand Knight called a Special Meeting at which it was voted to present this motion to the Council for a vote. An expenditure of this size requires written notice to all members of the Council, which was sent, and a two-thirds vote at a regular business meeting. This will be taken up at the October 13th meeting. If you would like more information on the Home of Divine Mercy Vocational Training Institute, you can view these pages on Council #81’s website:
Other Meeting Agenda Items
- Other business? If you have an item to add to the agenda, please let me know.
If you have any news to report, email GrandKnight@kofcmarlboro.org.
Mike Tremblay, GK
The origin of the Columbus Day holiday
The origin of the Columbus Day holiday was to combat the racial violence against minority communities in America. Columbus Day actually evolved from a tragic and deadly episode in New Orleans, on March 14, 1891. Hundreds of thousands of Italian Immigrants had made their way to
New Orleans in the 1880s in order to seek employment and leave an economically decimated southern Italy. The jobs were available due to the void of the freed slaves and the market for field workers. The immigrants arrived on the shores of the Mississippi River, settling into the current French Quarters (then named “Little Palermo”).
On October 15, 1890, the New Orleans Police Commissioner David Hennessy was shot and killed in front of his home. There were witnesses, but none could identify the possible four assassins. Nevertheless, and on the basis of the last whispers of Hennessy, who stated that the “Dagoes” did it, the police randomly rounded up hundreds of Italians on mere suspicion.
Nineteen innocent Sicilian immigrants were falsely charged with his murder. The first trial involved nine defendants, resulting in the mistrial of three and a not guilty verdict as to six on March 12, 1891. Judge Baker, who presided over the trial remanded the nine back to the nearby Orleans Prison for new, unsubstantiated charges of “lying in wait with the intent to commit murder.” The city was in an uproar. The prosecutors employed underhanded tactics to gain advantage, jurors had been illegally contacted, and the Judge did everything to help convict these men, to no avail. On March 14, 1891, City organizers—including businessmen, politicians, and lawyers alike—arranged for a “meeting” by taking out ads in the local papers. People were invited to meet at a popular location not far from the prison, to “remedy the failure of justice in the Hennessy case” and were told to “[c]ome prepared for action.” The organizers convinced the thousands who showed to march to the Orleans Prison, where they broke in, tracked down, and lynched 11 Italians.
The account was printed around the nation and received with satisfaction and approval by such papers as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The acceptance didn’t stop there. Teddy Roosevelt, who was to become the Governor of New York a few years later, and eventually the 26th President of the United States, was quoted as saying that the horrific lynching was a “rather good thing.” Suffice it to say the status of Italians at this time was low, hateful, and degrading, noting that such adjectives including “sub human,” savages,” and other distasteful names.
The uproar from the trial, and the unscrupulous way that it was handled, became national and then international news. Italy pulled its Ambassador from the United States. Investigations into the account were a farce.
The United States government intervened. President Benjamin Harrison decided to use his office to acknowledge the contributions of Italians and Italian Americans with a Presidential Proclamation to honor a prominent Italian whose contributions were unquestioned; he selected Columbus. The first statue was placed at “The Circle,” and named Columbus Circle in New York City, where it was unveiled on October 13, 1892. The intention was for a “one-time” holiday, but given the strong and popular acclamation for an annual observance, it later became a national holiday.
Yet, there was another tragedy in America just a few short months before the New Orleans lynching, and it involved the Lakota Sioux (The Wounded Knee Massacre). About 200 Sioux were killed by federal troops in South Dakota.
President Harrison created the Columbus Day holiday NOT as reparations for the New Orleans episode. In 1892 there would have been no support for an “Italian” holiday. It was a national holiday that commemorated the contributions of immigrants and indigenous people to America and the designed to combat the racial sentiment and injustice inflicted upon them.
Columbus Day was unveiled and first celebrated at the Chicago 1893 Exposition. Native Americans were on hand.
That was Harrison’s idea behind Columbus Day. A national holiday, not the celebration of a single ethnicity, but designed to bring together the many peoples here and to celebrate the land.
One Hundred Twenty-Eight years after the New Orleans lynching, the brave Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, offered a Proclamation and formal apology for the complicity of the then Mayor, and others, in 1891.
The goal of Columbus’ mission was to spread Christianity. His objective was to meet the Grand Khan of Chica and set up a trading post, and build a cultural and economic exchange.
Comments that he was barbaric or racist have been roundly debunked by scholarly investigations.
Read more at: http://www.columbusthetruth.org/