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Lake Shore Drive renamed to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable

The Chicago City Council approved the renaming of Lake Shore Drive after a Black man considered by many to be the founder of Chicago.

Lake Shore Drive will now be named Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive to honor Chicago’s first non-native setter. Lake Shore Drive was kept in the name as a compromise.

“They’re trying to do the same thing that they did with the Willis Tower,” said Otis Bryant, Chicago resident. “Honestly, everyone will still call it Lake Shore Drive.”

“It’s not so much the weight off my shoulders. It’s these babies that I fight for. That’s what it’s all about. These babies and giving them hope when they take a drive down: hope. When they take a drive down: unity,” said Ald. David Moore, 17th Ward.

“I think it’s emotional because there’s a struggle over a street named after the founder of our city who happens to be Black,” said Ald. Sophia King, 4th Ward.

“We support everything that celebrates the DuSable legacy,” said Perri Irmer, president and CEO, DuSable Museum of African American History.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot opposed the plan originally, saying it was too iconic a name associated with Chicago. Instead, she promised to invest $40 million to build a park, rename part of the Riverwalk and install statues honoring DuSable.

But aldermen behind the push were able to broker a deal with the mayor’s backing and secured enough votes to approve the name change. Now, the mayor is ready to move forward.

“During this time that the council has talked about renaming the roads and signs, not one baby was fed and no worker got a job,” Lightfoot said. “We have important priorities in this city, particularly as we come out of a pandemic.”

There was still some opposition and counter-proposals to rename Millennium Park for DuSable.

“To rename Chicago’s premiere downtown park and to add a statue or another monument to him in that location, in my opinion, vastly exceeds the honor and the recognition that would be given to him by renaming Lake Shore Drive,” said Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward.

“The city has done a lot to recognize Mr. DuSable,” said Ald. Brendan O’Reilly, 42nd Ward. “We have a bridge named after him, the Michigan Avenue bridge, which I named. We have a harbor downtown named after Mr. DuSable. We have a high school, we have a museum, and we’ll have a park soon, too.”

City council also approved Lightfoot’s Corporation Counsel Celia Meza and an ordinance that puts a ban on liquor sales after midnight, which takes effect immediately.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 Chicago.

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