In 1892, the United States was swept by Columbus fever. President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed October 21, 1892 a national day of commemoration for the fourth centenary. Educators produced a single curriculum for observation of the anniversary in the nation's public schools. To participate in the national celebrations, various religious and ethnic groups constructed their own lineages to Columbus's arrival, tracing their claims to legitimate citizenship through a founding moment in the history of Latin America. For communities in the borderlands of the southwest, the commemoration took on special significance as it filtered through local traditions of public celebration and gave Spanish-speaking populations an opportunity to perform citizenship on the eve of Jim Crow disfranchisement. In this article, I analyze the 1892 Columbus Day celebrations in the borderlands center of San Antonio, Texas. I argue that Tejano, German, and African American San Antonians crafted their own claims to citizenship through lineages to Columbus through public organization and participation in Columbus Day activities.


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pp. 9-27
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