Nov. 4, 1750

A painting of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable by Thomas Blackshear II. Credit: National Postal Museum

Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the “Father of Chicago,” was born. 

A man of African descent, he became the first known settler in the area that became the city of Chicago. He married a Potawatomi woman, Kitiwaha (Catherine), and they had two children. 

According to records, the property included a log cabin with two barns, a horse-drawn mill, a bakehouse, a poultry house, a dairy, a smokehouse, a fenced garden and an orchard. At his trading post, DuSable served Native Americans, British and French explorers and spoke a number of languages. 

“He was actually arrested by the British for being thought of as an American Patriot sympathizer,” Julius Jones, curator at the Chicago History Museum told WLS, but DuSable beat those charges. 

In Chicago today, a school, street, museum, harbor, park and bridge bear his name. The place where he settled near the mouth of the Chicago River is now a National Historic Landmark, part of the city’s Pioneer Court.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.