CHICAGO - Chicago aldermen on Friday voted to rename part of Lake Shore Drive after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, who is regarded as the city's first permanent resident.
The iconic roadway from Hollywood south to 67th Street will now be called "Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive."
DuSable was a Black trader who settled at the mouth of the Chicago River around 1779.
"It's been argued not to change LSD because it’s so iconic. I argue let’s change it because it is so iconic," said 4th Ward Alderwoman Sophia King.
DuSable, a native of Haiti, is considered Chicago’s first permanent, non-indigenous settler. He had a successful trading post in the late 1700s. He died in 1818. Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833 and as a city four years later.
South Side Alderman Donald Moore proposed changing the name to DuSable Drive two years ago after a riverboat tour of the city, during which he claimed DuSable’s name wasn’t mentioned.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said the lack of proper honor for Black leaders has a harmful impact on Black children. Naming the road for him "is a small but important step to addressing racial injustice," Ramirez-Rosa said.
Moore’s initial proposal to get rid of the Lake Shore Drive name entirely was opposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. An opposing alderman noted getting rid of the Lake Shore Drive name would require a "time-consuming and costly fix" for Chicago voters and have "costly implications" for businesses, police and fire.
Proponents of the name change this week agreed to the compromise supported by Lightfoot that added DuSable’s name to Lake Shore Drive. The vote for the change was 33-15, with "no" votes coming from 12 white and three Latino aldermen.
Prior to the long-awaited vote, council members still clashed on the issue.
"My experience from constituents is they prefer to keep the name LSD," 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly said.
"I have no doubt that if DuSable was white, this change would have been made long ago," said 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.