Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable was born in Haiti some time around 1745 to a French father and an African slave mother. Little is known about his life in Haiti prior to his migration to New Orleans in 1765. DuSable eventually traveled north up the Mississippi River and built a home in Peoria, IL. He maintained very good relations with the Native Americans in the area, and even married Catherine, the daughter of Potawatomie Chief Pokagon in a tribal ceremony. By 1779, DuSable and his family built a home on the north bank of the Chicago River and became Chicago’s first permanent residents . It is here that he established a successful trading post which included a mill, workshop, barn, smokehouse, and other small buildings. You can learn more about his story here.
In 1961, historian and teacher Dr. Margaret Burroughs along with other prominent Chicago residents founded the DuSable Museum of African American History named for this great pioneer. The museum is home to more than 15,000 pieces of sculpture, paintings, print works, and historical memorabilia. Its mission–
To promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs, and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art.
-DuSable Museum Of African American History
If you are in the Chicago area, make this museum one of your destinations. You will not be disappointed!