CHICAGO — Road signs rose for the official unveiling of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The dedication took place Thursday at Buckingham Fountain in honor of the city’s founder.
Ephraim Martin is an organizer of the Black Heroes Matter Coalition, instrumental in the name change.
“DuSable…how did I get involved with DuSable? I first heard about DuSable from the late [former mayor Harold] Washington.”
Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive bears the name of a Haitian immigrant, the son of a French sailor and an enslaved African woman who married a Native American woman. Together, they made their way to what would become Chicago, which was just an onion field back then.
Although Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and several council members initially opposed the name change, a compromise kept Lake Shore Drive in the official renaming.
Recent political history aside, Mayor Lightfoot said Thursday that the city made the right decision in honoring the man who opened a trading post near the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s. While others came before him, DuSable and his wife stayed.
“This is a celebration of [DuSable’s] indelible mark on our history,” Lightfoot said. “We are proud to rename this iconic roadway after him. Importantly, this renaming also recognizes and honors the contributions of our Black residents. Too often, our history has not been told in this great city.”
New roadway signs for DuSable Lake Shore Drive will span 18 miles from Hollywood Avenue to East 67th Street. The new signage costs about $500,000.