Day of the Races of Man
The date of October 12th has been recognized in the Western Hemisphere for centuries. It has been celebrated variously as "Columbus Day," "Discovery Day," or "Landing Day" in the North, and in Central and South America as the peculiarly Latin American holiday of "Día de la Raza," (roughly translated as the "Day of the Races" or "Racial Heritage Day").
The earliest official observance of this date in the United States was held by the Tammany Society, or Order of Columbia, in New York City in 1792, the 300th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' landing in the New World. One hundred years later, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation to observe the 400th anniversary of October 12th. On this day, he said, let the people, as far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life. In the churches and other places of assembly, he said, let there be expressions of gratitude to divine Providence for the divine care and guidance with which He has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked that all 48 states observe October 12th as a national holiday, and in 1937 there was a proclamation designating every October 12th as Columbus Day.
The International Community of Christ, Church of the Second Advent, observes October 12th as the "Day of the Races of Man." In 1992, the Advocates for Religious Rights and Freedoms celebrated the 500th anniversary of the date, not in commemoration of the discovery of America--we know that others had crossed the Atlantic and reached the Western Hemisphere before Columbus--but in commemoration of an event that remade the map of the world and joined the Old World to the New, thus permitting, in our time, the peoples of the East to join the peoples of the West in a united community...even in the midst of turmoil.
God has manifested to all the races of the world and sent His Light as a gift, so mankind may be redeemed. The following two inspired passages make clear this image:
As all races stemmed from a single race; as all languages came from one language; as all religions developed out of a single religion-God would unite the races of man into a single body for the common good. And it shall be of one body, and one mind, and one spirit within the Light and the Word of God. And from out of the races of man, God shall create a new race, and they shall be of one religion....
Let men come to America, the new land brought out of the nations for God's sake. And they shall build together a new community of peoples who shall multiply on the face of God's new earth and inherit the new creation. For God's Light will illuminate and nourish them (Prophecy to the Races of Man).
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