Jean Baptiste du Sable

Once there was a flat, damp land that smelled like wild onions.This land lay along an American river and lake. Explorers and hunters went there sometimes. But the weather was often so nasty and the ground so wet that no one wanted to stay very long. Even the Indians stopped there for only a short time when going somewhere else. Then one day a tall, handsome black man with a long name-Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable-came along. He had come from a faraway place called Haiti. He was rich and he spoke French.

He looked at the river and the lake and said to himself,” This is a good place for a trading business.” So he built a log cabin and trading post-a store where people traded what they had for what they needed. He traded such things as flour and cloth to the Indians for their fox and beaver skins. He built a dairy and smokehouse-for smoking meats. And he built a workshop and bakery and barns.

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Jean du Sable treated the Indians fairly and got along very well with them. He married an Indian girl and joined an Indian tribe. Many Indians built their houses near his cabin. Later a few white families also came there to live. Slowly a town began to grow. Then town is now one of the biggest cities in the world. Have you guessed its name? Chicago.

Some people say that the name Chicago comes from the Indian word for wild onion. Isn’t an onion a funny thing to name a city after? Until the white man came, Indians were the only people in most parts of America. Maybe that is why the Indians used to smile when they spoke about Jean du Sable. They said ” The first white man to settle in Chicago was a black man!”and he was.

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Exploring with an Artist

His mother said that his first word was “pencil”. One story tells that he started to draw before he learned to say any words at all. He was interested in drawing and painting and sculpturing from the time he was a small boy in Spain.

Pablo Picasso was an inventor and an explorer. But he didn’t invent machines or explore strange places. Instead, he explored and experimented with art. He always able to work anywhere or anytime of the day and night. He carved s figure from the nearest stick of wood, painted with his fingers made drawings with a rusty nail and even made a bull’s head from the handlebars and seat of a bicycle.

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Picasso painted Spanish fighting bulls, horse races and clowns. He painted warm, happy pictures and sad,lonely ones. He painted people and animals as they are. He also invented a kind of art called Cubism, which is made up of simple shape like squares or cubes.

People called Picasso’s big studio a jungle-a jungle of thick paints, brushes, chalk, pottery, colored pencils and crayons all mixed up with many other things-rolls of heavy paper and canvas, picture frames and easels and tolls for cutting designs on heavy board.Picasso explored the world of art and discovered new ways of looking at our world.

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Music with Strings and Hammers

No one knows who first discovered that a string stretched tight can make a musical sound. After that people found different ways to make music with strings. Some people fastened strings on a curved piece of wood. They called this a harp or a lyre. When the strings of a harp are plucked by the fingers each strings makes a different musical sound.

What do you think we have when a harp is put inside a wooden box and little hammers are placed inside the box to hit the harp string(instead of the fingers plucking them)?We have piano.

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The strings of a piano are made of steel wire. The shortest string is about two inches long, or about as long as your finger. When it is hit it gives out a high or treble sound. The longest piano string is 80 inches, or longer than a man. It gives out a deep, or bass sound. The longer the strings the lower the sound.

There are 88 black and white keys on the keyboard of most pianos. Each keys controls one of the little wooden hammers that is covered with soft felt. When your finger presses a key it causes one of the little hammers inside the piano to jump and hit a wire string. This makes the sound. When the keys are pressed-just so-by master musician, we hear some of the world’s most beautiful music.

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