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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Odd man out
Alex Morales
Antelope Staff

In the U.S. we legally honor three individuals with a federal holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on Jan.18, on Feb. 15, we celebrate Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day), and finally, on Oct. 11, Columbus Day is celebrated.

The resiliency and achievements of these men undoubtedly altered their time and our history. Historical figures of this stature tend to lead lives that parallel in many aspects. Unfortunately, a common link that these icons share deals with a darker portion of our history. Most importantly however is the role they played in this similarity and the effect it has had on this nation.

Columbus brought the western world to the attention of a more technologically developed western Europe.

In doing so, he exposed a path that would eventually allow a foreign flow of ideas to a new world. Like all paths that lead to a treasure, this one too was exploited. As a result of the exploitation an unknown form of slavery was thrust upon the shoulders of this new world. Once Columbus failed to encounter Asian treasures he resorted to enslaving natives as a form of currency. Furthermore, Columbus died convinced that the islands he had explored and ravished were part of his ever illusive route to Asia. In fact, Columbus never set foot in what makes up the continental U.S.

Two centuries later, a champion of freedom for white men, George Washington was a slave owner himself. We cannot excuse Washington for partaking in this action simply because slavery was accepted with the times. An absolute wrong deserves no justification. Nonetheless, our full scope view of history has made it evident that his role as the first president has had a much longer lasting effect than his role as a slave owner. Washington’s endeavors as first president were calculated for the good of this nation.

In the twentieth century Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream to liberate the nation of an inequality whose roots belong to a kind of seed sowed by Columbus.  He challenged conventional wisdom for the sake of wisdom itself in an endeavor to propel America into a more honorable America. An America that lives up to the standards set forth by its forefathers, among them, Washington.

All three of these men broke new ground in their lifetime. Columbus was a pioneer of slavery in the western world. Washington established a foundation for the leaders of what would become the most influential nation in the world. King led the way in unshackling the nation of the common link that chains these men. This leaves an odd man out in history that should not be honored with one of our federal holidays.


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