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date: 23 October 2020


  • Jill Dupont


Standing today at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, it is hard to imagine the frontier wilderness that lay before Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Chicago s first longtime resident of the city Of African and French descent du Sable arrived sometime in the 1770s and established a fur trading post on the Chicago River near Lake Michigan Du Sable s entrepreneurial spirit and intimate ties to what was even then a multicultural population may have offered a glimpse in retrospect of Chicago s future But it would take more than a century for the city to take full advantage of its location astride major transportation routes and for the town s leadership to display the ingenuity of its first settler Nor was it until the late nineteenth century that more than just a handful of African Americans could seek out the possibilities envisioned by du Sable ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.

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