The Chicago City Council voted on Friday to rename the city’s iconic Lake Shore Drive after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a black merchant widely considered the founder of Chicago.
As part of a compromise, the alderman approved an ordinance renaming the popular street “Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive”. It is believed that DuSable lived at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1790 and established a trading settlement which led to the formation of the city, which was officially incorporated in March 1837.
The city council was originally scheduled to vote on the measure at its Wednesday meeting, which was adjourned abruptly amid arguments over the confirmation of mayoral nominee Lori Lightfoot as legal counsel and over the rules of the body.
Aldus. David Moore, one of the main advocates for the decision to rename the causeway in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, originally wanted the street to be called “Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Drive”.
However, he, along with others pushing for the name change, announced his support for the compromise, which was also backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Opponents, primarily those representing predominantly white neighborhoods along the lake, said the change was controversial and could confuse commuters, among other concerns.
“It was about wanting to protect the tradition, the heritage, the attractiveness of the name,” Ald said. Brian Hopkins of the city’s 2nd Ward said earlier. “It’s a beautiful name for a beautiful road.”
Supporters argued the move was long overdue and a step toward addressing racial injustice.
“There was an argument that Lake Shore Drive shouldn’t be changed because it’s so iconic,” Ald said. Sophia King of the city’s 4th arrondissement. “I support the exact opposite. Let’s change it because it’s so iconic. Let’s be leaders like City Council did in renaming South Parkway King Drive on August 1, 1968…”