DuSable Lake Shore Drive renaming official with new signs honoring city’s black founder


CHICAGO – Lake Shore Drive has got signs that proclaim its new name: Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

The panels were unveiled during a ceremony Thursday at the Buckingham Fountain with Alds. Sophia King (4th) and David Moore (17th), who lobbied for the ordinance renaming Chicago’s famous lakeside street. They will be rolled out over the next few days, officials said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also celebrated the inauguration, although she fought to prevent the street from being renamed from Sable. She said she still plans to build a park for Sand and create a memorial for him along the Riverwalk.

“We had to find a way to honor our founder; and, in the long process that took us to get to this point, we’ve done a lot of steps, a lot of travel, ”said Lightfoot. “We took steps in each other’s direction to get to… this important place.

“… Now, forever, the people will know the name of Sand. “

Lightfoot said the city is “proud” to rename the street after Sable, and the name change honors the contribution of black residents to Chicago’s history.

The name change affects approximately 18 miles of Lake Shore Drive, from Hollywood Avenue to East 67th Street. City council voted in favor of the name change on June 25 after months of back-and-forth between the aldermen and Lightfoot.

The name change comes as people have looked for ways to honor historical black figures like Sable.

“By telling the story of our founder on this highway, we further unify our city and our residents in a time of racial and historical reckoning,” said Lightfoot. “… Never again will this man’s contributions be forgotten. And more to come.

“We are an incredible city founded by a black man and his native wife. We should be very proud of this heritage and never forget it, honor it and revere it from now on. “

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who tried to prevent the renaming of Lake Shore Drive, speaks at the sign unveiling ceremony Thursday.

Moore, speaking at the ceremony, said he began his crusade to rename Lake Shore Drive after being disturbed to hear a guide speak of white Chicago historical figures like Al Capone not to mention Sand.

“That way it opens the door for everyone to learn – if we can take this ride… drive bringing everyone together from north to south and east to west to celebrate a man who wanted to bring people together,” Moore said. Inviting people to look at the buildings downtown, he said, “It’s because of the founding of Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable.

This summer, critics of the change said residents were unwilling to change their address or were concerned about getting rid of the iconic name “Lake Shore Drive”. Some said aldermen should focus on other issues, such as recovering Chicago from the pandemic or the spike in shootings and murders in the city.

Lightfoot came up with other ways to honor Du Sable, including building DuSable Park, hosting a festival in his honor, and naming Riverwalk for him. There was also a push to rename Millennium Park to Sand.

But supporters of the name change – like Moore, who had fought for the change since 2019 – ultimately prevailed.

Du Sable, a black man believed to be of Haitian descent, is often considered the founder of Chicago. He and his wife, Kitihawa, settled where the Chicago River and Lake Michigan meet in 1779, establishing a trading post and farm before selling the property in 1800 and moving to St. Charles Harbor.

In addition to a school and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Hyde Park, a small monument dedicated to Sand can be found near the DuSable Bridge on Michigan Avenue.

Credit: Colin Boyle / Block Club Chicago
Lake Shore Drive viewed from the 360 ​​CHICAGO Observation Deck in the Streeterville neighborhood on April 30, 2021

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