John Vecchio Tells The Story Of Mariano Lucca And Columbus Day

Columbus Day, traditionally celebrated on October 12th, became a national holiday officially in 1971. Do you know the Western New York connection? Click the link below for this week’s episode of The State of Greater Western New York Report to learn the story of the Buffalo journalist who led the drive to have Columbus Day recognized by the Federal government.

This week’s guest, John Vecchio, is Executive Director Emeritus of the Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo. He starts by telling us about this center and what it took to create it during Covid.

In the show’s second half, Vecchio tells the origin story of Columbus Day and the irony of President Harrison’s attempt to use it to apologize to Italian-Americans and the country of Italy for a mass lynching of Italians in Louisiana. As the holiday became more popular, Buffalo News reporter Mariano Lucca organized an effort to have the Federal Government formally recognize it as a national holiday. Vecchio shares a telegram Lucca received from President John F. Kennedy. Congress finally passed the law that established several Monday holidays in 1968, to become effective in 1971. Columbus Day was included in this.

Our guest happily answered questions from the live audience. In fact, these are probably some of the same questions you had. Would you like to be a live audience member so you can ask our guests questions? Click here to join the growing number of members who share your feelings on because then we can automatically send you the link to watch our shows live.

Theme music by “mansardian” courtesy of under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content