As the DuSable Park Coalition nears the actualization of DuSable Park, Coalition holds commemoration of Chicago’s founder,Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, on August 21st near the date of his death
As the DuSable Park Coalition nears the actualization of DuSable Park, Coalition holds commemoration of Chicago’s founder,
Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, on August 21st near the date of his death
CHICAGO: In anticipation of the construction of DuSable Park, the DuSable Park Coalition will host its annual memorial ceremony marking the death of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, at 401 North Michigan Avenue, August 21, 2021, from 11:00am – 12pm, with tours of the Founder’s Trail to follow directly after the ceremony.
What: Every year the DuSable Park Coalition gathers at the bust of DuSable to host the Annual Commemoration and Wreath Laying Ceremony near the date of DuSable’s death. Faheem Majeed’s Floating Museum featuring the inflatable structure, “Founders,” will be erected at the DuSable Harbor for the event. The Founder’s Trail will end at DuSable Harbor, where the Floating Museum will be displayed, along with drummers from the Sixty Fourth Street Beach Drummers. Starla Thompson, Potawatomi, and Chicago born educator and activist, will perform at DuSable Harbor at 6pm and will be on site during the ceremony.
Who: The current active members of the DuSable Park Coalition includes: DuSable Heritage Association, Friends of the Parks, Harold Washington Legacy Committee, DuSable Park Advisory Council, Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Friends of DuSable, Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR), American Indian Center-Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History.
Why: For decades Friends of the Parks has coordinated the DuSable Park Coalition to hold together Mayor Harold Washington’s vision of dedicating the parcel of land at the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan for DuSable Park. Over thirty years later, the parcel still sits vacant. The DuSable Park Coalition gathers each year to bring recognition for DuSable and his wife Kitihawa with a dream of one day gathering at DuSable Park to host the commemoration. This year, the Coalition inched closer to that dream with commitments from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to provide $25 million in funding along with statues to memorialize DuSable and Kitihawa. This announcement of funding by the mayor is in addition to last year’s $5 million Open Space Impact Fees (OSIF) commitment that passed City Council and a $10 million commitment from Related Midwest. We are especially proud that the Coalition’s annual event has inspired Mayor Lightfoot to express her intent to honor DuSable every summer with a festival in August. While the Coalition feels progress has been made, the DuSable Park Advisory Council (DPAC) is still a homeless lakeshore PAC and is eager to get started on framework and design plans for the park. Over 30 years is too long to wait while other park district investments have been prioritized and completed.
When: Saturday, August 21, 2021 – there will be both in-person and virtual components:
11:00 am The "Wreath Laying Ceremony"
12:20 pm "The Founder's Trail Tour," brought to us by the DuSable Heritage Association
1:15 pm The Sixty Fourth Street Beach Drummers
Performance at Founders Inflatable Near DuSable Harbor
6:00 pm Floating Museum presents TRANSLATOR featuring Starla Thompson (Potawatomi and Chumash) and Lional 'Brother El' Freeman
Zoom Platform Presentation:
11:00 am The "Wreath Laying Ceremony" (Live)
12:20 pm Panel Discussion | Black Chicago Past and Present
1:15 pm DHA Presents: "The Founder's Trail Tour Video"
1:40 pm DHA Presents: "The History of Advocacy: DuSable Park Video"
Where: 401 N. Michigan Avenue by the Apple Store and the stairs to the Chicago River. The Founder’s Trail Tours will start immediately after the ceremony and will end at the DuSable Harbor.
Quotes from Coalition Leaders:
“Friends of the Parks has been proud to hold space over the years for such an important project which honors Mayor Harold Washington’s intention of memorializing Chicago’s first non-native settler, a Black man of Haitian descent, with a park in his name,” said Juanita Irizarry. “Through the years we have watched as other parks are constructed and prioritized while the parcel for DuSable sat vacant. We’re very excited by the recent commitment from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to provide funding and statues for the park and look forward to sharing the vision cast by various community members, boosters, and advocates over the years to bring recognition to Jean Baptiste Point DuSable and his wife Kitihawa.”
“The DuSable Park Coalition is honored to present this year’s commemoration on the heels of announcements from Mayor Lightfoot which promises to provide $25 million in funding along with several statues honoring DuSable and his wife Kitihawa,” said DuSable Park Coalition President, Dr. Serge JC Pierre-Louis. “The commemoration is always a special moment, but this year will be particularly impactful. As someone who has been at the table for decades, it is rewarding to see the recent spotlight on Jean Baptiste Point DuSable and that he and Kitihawa are receiving recognition.”
Over the decades, the DuSable Park Coalition has included and collaborated with representatives from several local organizations and elected officials including Alderman Brendan Reilly, American Indian Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Chicago History Museum, Chicago River Rowing and Paddling Center, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congressman Danny Davis, DuSable Heritage Association, DuSable Museum of African American History, Floating Museum, Friends of DuSable, Friends of the Parks, Haitian Consulate of Chicago, Streeterville Organization of Active Residents and the Sustainable Englewood Initiative. The group revitalized its efforts to galvanize support for and to encourage the Chicago Park District to move ahead with construction of DuSable Park, under the leadership of Friends of the Parks starting five years ago. Friends of the Parks also catalyzed the formation of the DuSable Park Advisory Council in 2018 to help ensure continuity and public input when the Chicago Park District revisits the 2006 DuSable Park Framework plan as this park project moves toward fruition.
Friends of the Parks (FOTP) is an Illinois not-for-profit organization founded in 1975. Our mission is to inspire, equip, and mobilize a diverse Chicago to ensure an equitable park system for a healthy Chicago. Friends of the Parks envisions a well-balanced Chicago Park system, protected by Chicagoans, for Chicagoans, to advance the individual community, public, ecological, and economic health and well-being of our city.
COVID-19 DISCLAIMER: We promote and urge all participants to practice COVID-19 safety measures at all times. Due to the Delta variant uptick in COVID-19 cases, we strongly suggest face coverings and proper PPE be worn during your participation.