The fiction is that a French-Haitian Black man built a one-room cabin in 1778 near what is now Illinois, and that he allegedly lived there for twenty years, allegedly establishing the city of Chicago.
The fiction-makers neglect to notice that the United States did not even exist at that time and was in the Revolutionary War with England. Du Sable only lived in that tiny one-room cabin for a couple months until British troops chased him out later in 1778. England only ceded the area to the United States after that war, in 1783. The Northwest Territories were only formed by the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. In July 1800, the District of Indiana was formed, and the Illinois Territory was organized in Feb 1809. Illinois only became a State of the U.S. in 1818. To now re-write history to credit a Black man for having formed Chicago is simply not credible! (Chicago was only finally Incorporated as a town of 4,000 people in 1837.)
The reality is England had owned the entire region in 1778, and the British had chased du Sable out after a couple months during the summer of 1778. Much later, the very new United States bought a small tract of land in 1795, from Indians, and by 1803, Fort Dearborn was built (to protect the surrounding region.)
Any claim that any actual Deed was owned by Du Sable in 1778, would require some country to actually have official written records, which certainly was not true. Modern Blacks claim that Du Sable had such legal ownership for a period of twenty years, 1778-1799. It is also well known that Du Sable was still uneducated and illiterate, as he later went to New Orleans to get educated there. So even if there was anyone capable of writing who might have tried to create a Deed, Du Sable certainly would not have been able to read it!
The fiction was built up around very uncertain and variable claims about a Jean Du Sable. That person was apparently born in Haiti around either 1745 or 1750, apparently to a French trader father and a Haitian mother. The father never seems to have been around after that, unless peculiar claims of getting an education in France are considered. The more likely facts seem to be that Du Sable grew up without any contact with a father, and with a mother who may have been murdered by Spanish when he was about ten years old.
Du Sable may have moved to New Orleans when he was around 19 years old, but there is no indication that he received any education, there or elsewhere, which would have been unheard of for a dark-skinned man in that era. A few years later, possibly in the late 1770s, apparently in 1778, Du Sable moved to the area that would eventually become Illinois and built a small one-room cabin. He may have married an Indian woman about then. But by 1778, British troops had taken over the buildings and other structures in the area, as the American Revolution was under way, and Du Sable had to abandon the region.
So it appears possible that Du Sable had built a small one-room cabin adjacent to what is now called the Chicago River some time in the late 1770s, but he certainly had to abandon it by 1778. Some modern stories about a Du Sable claim that he built the cabin in 1779, which is apparently impossible due to the British already having taken over the region.
He certainly did not start a community or a city, and was apparently only there for a limited number of months.
The real history shows that the British were eventually driven out in the early 1780s and the area was again unpopulated, except by Indians. When the United States government bought the small area from Indians in 1795, there was certainly no remaining evidence that Du Sable had ever been there! And when Fort Dearborn was later built in 1803, it again had no connection with Du Sable.
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At that era, the 1770s, any dark-skinned young man had enough to worry about in trying to not be taken as a slave! Anywhere that Du Sable might have gone to try to get an education would have endangered that possibility. The very concept of such a Black man starting up a city is outrageously impossible. He was lucky that the British did not have interest in having slaves, so that region allowed Du Sable to live relatively safely around several Indian tribes and occasional British soldiers, at least until the British chased him out of the area in 1778 as the American Revolutionary War proceeded.
If someone could claim to have created a city for every location that he passed through, then the Lewis and Clark Expedition probably could be stretched to claim that Lewis and Clark deserve to get claim for starting thousands of cities! Such a claim would be silly! Some towns and cities were later created and named for them, but even in their case, that is very different from being credited with actually starting a giant city!
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