Jean Baptiste Point du Sable
In what very well might become the most unpopular series in SB Nation history and will threaten SB Nation's association with this blog, I present "Win This Game For a Chicago Historical Figure". I think it is important to pay homage to those people who have made the city of Chicago great. If you don the Chicago Fire badge, you should be inspired before every game by your fellow citizens past and present. If that's not for you, well maybe we can ship you off to Columbus. I hear... ummm...... this happened in Columbus one time. What a town! The C-Busians were rocked to their very core. To those of you who are confused why I'm talking about dedicating a game, yes there is a match on Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes. It's not the first thing I'm thinking about either but I'm very excited about kicking off this series.
Chicago Fire, please win Wednesday's game for Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.
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Jean Baptiste Point DuSable became Chicago's first permanent settler in 1779. You can see the original site of his home if you go to 401 N. Michigan Avenue. Even for those of you without quick access to the 'L', the modern technology of Google Street View allows you to 'go on the bridge', 'turn to the east', and drop your jaw in the comfort of your own home. The western view has been ruined by some Hummer display on a mobile ad truck (what a sign of the times for 2007?) but if you go to 316 N. Wabash Avenue, you get a real panoramic view of beauty. If you are ever fortunate enough to visit or live here, treat yourself to the sunset on the Chicago River. Today the light reflects off the buildings in a slow ballet but the gleaming waters below provide a treat and wonder of their own. It is not shocking that DuSable settled here, rather it is amazing that no one else went about settling here first. Maybe it was the winters...
Either way, DuSable is considered to be the 'father of Chicago' for setting up a farm and building a very successful trading post in what today is the heart of Chicago. Like any great Chicagoan, DuSable was familiar with diverse backgrounds. He himself was born to a French father and a mother of African slave descent. He married a Potawatomi woman (you thought it was just a casino name) and spoke several languages. His vocal dexterity allowed him to conduct business with people of English, Spanish, French, and Native American backgrounds. As a great entrepreneur and a man who could claim he was a friend to many communities, DuSable would make a great modern day mayoral candidate.
Unfortunately for Chicago, DuSable never got his chance to run for office. He moved away in 1800. A group of Native American tribes signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and turned land that bordered DuSable's estate over to the United States. Dr. Christopher Reed theorizes in this video that DuSable ultimately left the area because he was unsure what the Americans might do once they arrived. Regardless of the true reason, a man named John Kinzie (yes that Kinzie) bought DuSable's business and homestead from him and DuSable moved to Missouri.
Why should we care about someone who only lived in Chicago for 11 years? Jean Baptiste Point DuSable spotted out the very location of where we live. What probably seemed a causal decision to him at the time staked out where your humble dwelling lies if you live in the Chicagoland area. Some people started to settle around him and the United States Government completed Fort Dearborn in 1808 right across the river at present day 360 N. Michigan. If DuSable chose to live a 'block' one way or the other, the entire city could look different. The Great Chicago Fire might never had started or hit so many buildings. The second guesses and counter theories are endless. In addition to shaping the city, DuSable helped shaped our identity. At its core, Chicago should always be a place of diversity and entrepreneurial spirit. As always this soccer club should be an extension of our city and our people. Hopefully we will all live in the spirit of DuSable.
There isn't much to play for this Wednesday but there is pride. I almost feel bad dedicating a game in a lost season to Jean Baptiste Point DuSable but with it being first in the series I couldn't think of anyone better to dedicate it to than the very first Chicagoan.