Black Fact of the Week: Haitian-Born Explorer Jean-Baptist Pointe Du Sable Founded the City of Chicago

jean baptiste pointe dusable

Trader, traveler, voyager and pioneer Jean-Baptiste Pointe Du Sable was the first permanent non-Native resident of what is now Chicago, Illinois. Born in Haiti as a free man, Du Sable traveled to the Great Lakes area of North America sometime during the 1770s and found his way to the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River. It was there that he settled on a farm with his Potawatomi wife, Kittihawa (whom he called “Catherine).

Du Sable opened up a successful trading post that was crucial to the prosperity of the region’s fur and grain business. The wealth that he accumulated, and the contributions he gifted to the now-city of Chicago, garnered his title as the “Father of Chicago.” On October 25, 1968, Du Sable was officially recognized as the city’s founder by both Chicago and the state of Illinois. Today, the renowned historic figure has a museum, a school, a park, a harbor and a bridge named after him in the Windy City. The place where he settled at the mouth of the Chicago River has also been deemed a National Historic Landmark, located in Pioneer Park.

Sources: Black History Now; African American Registry; Britannica  ; Du Sable’s Wiki 

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