Join us for a discussion by Chicago's own prize-winning newspaper reporter and author Jerry Crimmins who will discuss his novel, Fort Dearborn. Told from the perspective of two young boys and their fathers -one a sergeant with the United States First Infantry, the other a Potawatomi warrior - readers can learn of the early days of Chicago's history. Crimmins weaves his story with rich detail from primary source material in the exploration of the events and driving forces that led to the Fort Dearborn Massacre during the War of 1812 in what is now downtown Chicago.
Using scores of letters, historical documents and maps, and long-forgotten Indian speeches Crimmins breathes life into the little known drama that took place. Early in the nineteenth century, the Potawatomi attempted to co-exist with the settlers at the newly built Fort Dearborn. But eventually the Native Americans turn to violence, in an effort to preserve their lands and customs. A suspenseful narrative, Fort Dearborn is also a remarkable historical account, meticulously documented, preserving a key period in early American and regional history.
A reporter and an editor in the Chicago newspaper business for more than 35 years, Jerry Crimmins became an author with his first novel; Fort Dearborn. As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, the City News Bureau of Chicago and currently, The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Crimmins won awards for investigative reporting, deadline reporting, non-deadline reporting, and feature writing. His exclusive Chicago Tribune vote fraud story led to the largest grand jury investigation of vote fraud in Chicago history and more than 50 convictions. In cooperation with U.S. officials, he was instrumental in freeing five American citizens from prison in Yugoslavia in five separate cases due to his reporting in the Chicago Tribune. In cooperation with then-State Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, Crimmins and other Chicago Tribune reporters published a series of stories about irregularities at a northwest suburban mental health center that led to the firing of the head of that center and the resignation of its board of directors. He researched Fort Dearborn for six years and Fort Dearborn was published in 2006 by Northwestern University Press.
DVD 2007-04-26: Gerald Crimmins
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