Columbus Transcontinental Highway Sign

Jul 30, 2022 1363

In 1975, the California State Legislature established the Columbus Transcontinental Highway on interstate 10 in southern California. A sign marking the Columbus highway was installed. The Resolution naming the highway was sponsored by Italian American Legislators of the period to honor the Italian American community.
        
A Resolution to remove the designation of the Columbus Transcontinental highway and the Highway sign was recently introduced in the State Assembly by Assembly member Richard Bloom. The Resolution was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the City of Los Angeles, and The University of Los Angeles. The new Resolution would give naming rights to a new sign to the Native American tribes. The sign itself has been stolen. By whom, one can only guess.
       
The legacy of the Italian American Legislators of the past is being lost in the present as is that of Italian Americans both past and present. The removal of the Columbus highway sign is part of a concerted action by the government and other institutions and native American tribes to erase all references to Columbus and eliminate all monuments in honor of him, which is the stated goal of the new Resolution.
       
The Resolution contains many false, misleading and mean-spirited claims about Columbus and is based on an historically inaccurate telling of history solely to demonize Columbus and justify the action.  The Resolution will move to the State Senate for passage.
        
By a combination of official decree and mob rule over the past two years, many Columbus statues have been removed or vandalized and Columbus holidays abolished.
        
What is clear from all the Columbus bashing taking place is that Italian Americans are not well represented by the city and county of Los Angeles nor by the California State Government nor by California institutions. The Italian American population of California is over 1.5 million people and some 350,000 live in Los Angeles County.  Nationwide, the census counts the number of people who self-identify as Italian American at 18 million. The census estimates there are millions more.
        
The aspirations of the Italian American community to maintain their heritage are not being listened too by our institutions. Rather, those institutions reflect the resentful and vindictive voices of those who would rewrite our history and diminish our traditions by targeting the 15th century explorer.

The Columbus Day Holiday in California.
Until recently, Columbus Day was an observed State Holiday in California.  In September 2021, the California Legislature removed the Columbus Day holiday from the list of observed State holidays in California and elevated Native American Day to take its place as an observed holiday.  The move was approved by the Governor and sponsored by the Native American tribes.  
         
This follows the action by the Governor and State Legislative leaders to remove the Columbus statue from the State Capitol Rotunda in 2020 against the will of the Italian community.  

SOURCE: Italian Cultural Society, Sacramento

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