Friday, April 09, 2021

Chicago monuments under assault, Part 21: Jean Baptiste Beaubien Plaque

Born in Detroit, trader Jean Baptiste Beaubien was likely the second European-American man to settle in what is now Chicago.

An elementary school on the Northwest Side is named for him, as is a Southeast Side forest preserve and a short downtown street. Outside of the Chicago Cultural Center in the North Loop is a plaque that notes where Beaubien's home once stood. It reads:
"Jean Baptiste Beaubien - On this site, then the lake shore, Jean Baptiste Beaubien, Chicago's second civilian, in 1817, built a mansion to which he brought his bride, Josette LaFramboise. It remained their home until 1845. - Erected by Chicago's Charter Jubilee - Authenticated by Chicago Historical Society - 1937."

The plaque is on the hit list--oops, make that "under review" list--for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Chicago Monument Project, which was her response to the riot outside the Christopher Columbus statue a mile-and-a-half to the south of the Beaubien plaque.

There are 41 monuments that the sneaky committee says "warrant attention." Often the Chicago Monuments Project gives no reason why certain public statues, plaques, and reliefs are in jeopardy, but not so the Beaubien plaque. "The distinction of being 'Chicago's second civilian' is dubious," you are informed at their site, "but must refer to the primacy given to John Kinzie, as it ignores the footprint of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable (before 1750-1818), whose presence in the area that was to become the city is noted by at least 1790."

Kinzie was the first recorded European American to live in Chicago but the first non-Native American resident of the city was the aforementioned DuSable, who was born in Haiti. A plaque at the site of the Kinzie mansion has also been targeted by the project.

Outside of the woke, it's hard to envision anyone else is angered by this plaque. A common sense solution would be to replace this plaque with one that says Beaubien was "Chicago's third civilian" won't work as the woke appears to be more interested in erasing history

Two blocks north of the Beaubien plaque is the DuSable Bridge, which until recently was simply known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge. No portraits of DuSable were made during his lifetime so one can only speculate as to what he looked like. But there is a bronze bust of him near the bridge on Michigan Avenue.

To comment on the monuments "under review" please visit the Chicago Monuments Project's "Feedback page." Please be courteous but firm in your comments. 

Please Tweet this post. When you do so use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Earlier posts

Related posts of mine at Da Tech Guy

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