Movement to drop Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day comes to Syracuse

Oct 12, 2018 323

BY: Renée K. Gadoua

On Oct. 12, 1934, an estimated 40,000 people filled the streets of downtown Syracuse for a Columbus Day parade, followed by the dedication of the city’s Columbus monument. The “abounding panorama of pageantry and joy” featured a mile-long line of marchers, a 500-voice children’s choir and speeches by community leaders, according to the Syracuse Herald, precursor to the defunct Herald-Journal. The celebration ended “fittingly,” with a dinner at the 10-year-old Hotel Syracuse.

Syracuse Mayor Rowland Marvin’s 10-year-old daughter, Irene, “pulled the silk cords which threw aside the covering of the statue,” an 11-foot, 3,000-pound bronze likeness of Christopher Columbus, sculpted by V. Renzo Baldi, of Florence, Italy. The monument, designed by renowned architect Dwight James Baum, was the culmination of a 25-year campaign among local Italian-Americans seeking to highlight their ethnic pride and patriotism with a memorial to the Italian navigator who sailed to the Americas on behalf of Spain in 1492.

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