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5 Americans Who Deserve a Holiday More Than Columbus

5 Americans Who Deserve a Holiday More Than Columbus
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Christopher Columbus may have his own federal holiday, but itís barely a secret at this point that he was actually a hateful jerk. Learning about the manís real history sure puts a damper on any festivities you may want to have every second Monday of October.

Surely, there are countless people more deserving of a national holiday in America than Columbus. Here are five famous Ė and much more respectable Ė figures that we could be proud to swap in for Christopher and commemorate annually instead:

1. Albert Einstein

One of the great scientific minds to ever live deserves proper recognition. A holiday for the man would not only commemorate Einstein himself, but the process of intellectual inquiry and discovery.

Granted, Einstein is German born, but he became an American citizen in 1940, exemplifying the immigrant experience on which this country was founded. Although much better known for his scientific contributions, his civil rights activism makes him an admirable person in other respects, as well.

2. Eleanor Roosevelt

If thereís a holiday to honor the Presidents of the United States, it only seems fair to give a nod to one of the hardest working First Ladies, as well. Roosevelt refused to be a standard shrinking violet while in the White House, openly advocating for the rights of women, African Americans and Asian Americans at a time such talk was scandalous. She wasnít afraid to disagree with her husband on a few issues, either.

Even after her husband died, Roosevelt stayed committed to public service by advocating for and subsequently representing the United Nations with the goal of improving human rights worldwide. She is a true example of someone who used her influence for good.

3. Cesar Chavez

Arguably the countryís most influential labor activist, Chavez fought tirelessly — yet non-violently — to establish the union that would go on to become the United Farm Workers. His work not only validated the value of organized labor in this country, but also empowered the nationís Latino community to stand up for their rights.

Texas, California and Colorado already each have state holidays to commemorate Chavezís life, but his contributions are worthy of federal recognition. Particularly in an age where labor forces are unjustly vilified, his legacy is critical for Americans to remember.

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Top photo: stevebkennedy, Chavez photo by Joel Levine, others available through national archives' public domain

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181 comments

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11:36PM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Such great idea's. And thanks for the postings.

5:09PM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Columbus Day is controversial here where I live in Pueblo, Colorado. There is a statue of him in front of our main library building at which the local Sons of Italy group hold a celebration each year while laying a wreath on the statue. And each year there are Native American groups which show up to protest the honoring of Columbus who they view as a criminal and a fraud.

Of course, there are many individuals in American history who are more deserving to be honored with a holiday than Columbus. Unfortunately, if we gave such an honor to everyone who deserved it, we would quickly run out of days and every day would be a holiday. Although, since Columbus Day is only a real holiday for banks and government offices, if we had more such holidays there would be fewer days when Congress was busy screwing up the country.

2:15PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

My turn? Will Rogers.

6:40PM PST on Nov 24, 2013

Agree, each of the five are more deserving of a holiday and I can think of many others!

5:09PM PST on Nov 15, 2013

all super suggestions! love this!

7:56AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

Another important figure would be John Wilkes 'The Scandalous Father of Liberty.' Though he was eventually referred to ...Scandalous Father of Liberty, He was once more than a hero here in America when the colonies were going to war for the freedom they sought from the Brits. This John Wilkes is not the John Wilkes Booth who killed Lincoln.

10:23AM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

I would nominate Rosa Parks.

2:25AM PDT on Oct 21, 2013

Thank you!

9:32PM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

Interesting, and cool choices. Thanks!

6:29AM PDT on Oct 19, 2013

So, so true.

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