The Warrior's Belt: The Memoirs of Jean Baptiste Point Dusable
Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a man more than the sum of his parts, through the course of his life became variously a precocious scholar, planter, sea captain, trapper, explorer, tribal chieftain, and one of the wealthiest men in 18th Century Midwestern United States. Like all of us, he was shaped by the peculiar circumstances of his surroundings. But in order to survive the perils of his environment he constantly reinvented himself to fit his times. The central fact of DuSable's existence is that he has largely been lost to history by becoming the victim of myth. It has long been debated whether he was the founder of Chicago. Such debate is often garbled in the babble of semantics. The truth is that in the place he had the vision to predict was strategically situated to be the economic center of North America, there is scarcely a monument to mark his ever passing this way. This, too, is due to the circumstance of his being. Those in the process of stealing the land from its indigenous peoples and alternately, time and again, from each other were not willing to credit a Black man from Haiti with opening the bounty of the Midwest to prosperity that gained great currency after his death. It does not go unnoticed that subtle innuendoes like portraying his home as a simple cabin instead of the sumptuous mansion it was are among the more obvious attempts to obscure the truth of this visionary pioneer. Diligent study will dispel the myth and reveal the reality of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. As a philosopher, humanist, poetic seer, and peacemaker, Jean DuSable stands as the prototype of the American Dream. Ironically, the founding of the city may be among the least of DuSable's accomplishments. This novel offers insight into the personality that made his tremendous, and largely unsung, feats possible.
What people are saying - Write a review
He was professor at Chicago State University. :-)
What a fascinating book! Warren W. Holmes adeptly unfolds the life experiences of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable as written from the man’s own pen. The fictionalization brings to light the range of skills, beliefs and values, achievements and setbacks of a man too little known to the public. Yes, nowadays schools teach (sometimes) that he was the founder of Chicago and a fur trader and settler of the area. Yet few people know the back stories of how pivotal DuSable was to the resiliency of the various Midwestern tribes of his times; and how principled was his stance toward the common good, land use, democracy and fairness.
The novel brings DuSable to three-dimensional reality as a courageous, against-the-odds pioneer. His trips up and down the Mississippi; his loyal friendships; his encounters with, and mentoring by, Chief Pontiac; his relationships with the Potawatomis and other indigenous tribal councils; and how he and others handled adversity; and more will inspire even the resistant youth and adult! There’s so much to learn here. Kudos to the author for so unobtrusively yet vividly transmitting the evolution of character and wisdom as DuSable persevered, matured and aged!
Loretta J. Williams