More Columbus Day? Really?
It was around sixth grade when I found out that this Columbus character might not have been as pleasant of a guy as I'd been led to believe and, by extension, that my history textbooks in grade school were not all that trustworthy. A few obvious questions were out there among my classmates, stuff we'd been thinking in earlier grades but didn't bother asking. Things like, "How did Columbus 'discover' America when there were already people here?" and "What happened to all those folks who were already here after he arrived?" Our teacher's subterfuge of answers was, I like to think, the result of her not knowing the real answers rather than some grand Italian-American conspiracy to protect the legacy of Columbus. Either way, I never found out what was true and what wasn't, but it doesn't matter. Even though I didn't learn any concrete history in that class, I learned that the concept of concrete history is, at its very best, shaky. But I suppose we all learned that about Columbus, which is probably why we recognize his contributions to America with mattress sales.