by Sherry Meyer
Fort Dearborn is Chicago’s predecessor, and stood beside the Chicago River where Michigan and Wacker now meet.
Aug. 15, marks the 200th anniversary of the Fort’s evacuation during the War of 1812, on a morning as hot as any we’ve had this summer.
Two miles from the Fort, the evacuees were overtaken by a Native American war party in a violent clash, which took centuries to brew, minutes to prosecute, and, still, yet, centuries to heal.
Those events and people created a lasting legacy for Chicago, and will be commemorated in a public ceremony being planned by the Fort Dearborn Bicentennial Initiative.
During the countdown, the Fort Dearborn Bicentennial Initiative needs two pieces of help from Chicagoans near and far:
1) Go to the Fort Dearborn Bicentennial Initiative’s Facebook page and tell us why you think Fort Dearborn is an important part of history. (facebook.com/ FortDearbornBicentennial)
2) While at the Facebook page, make a donation to help raise money for the commemoration ceremony, and to help bring educational resources about Fort Dearborn and its legacy to kids throughout the Chicago area.
Fort Dearborn is commemorated with a star on Chicago’s flag. The Aug. 15 bicentennial date is being planned as one of “175 Days to Love Chicago,” and the City Council has passed a resolution recognizing it as a day of remembrance and reconciliation.
The Fort Dearborn Bicentennial Initiative is a project of InSites, owned by geographer Sherry Meyer, and includes curriculum and public programs educating children and the public about the legacy of Fort Dearborn. The cultural, economic and geographic issues of that day remain contemporary today, and can inform violence prevention efforts while strengthening communities.
Sherry Meyer will give a presentation about Fort Dearborn on Aug. 8 at Palos Heights Public Library.