Apr 042011

Mark Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. Hannibal does not have old, preserved plantation homes, the kind you think of from Gone With the Wind –┬ábecause Hannibal never supported a plantation society. But it did support a slave-owning society. In fact, up to a quarter of the town was comprised of slaves in Mark Twain’s youth. There was a slave market that Twain’s father occasionally participated in; his mother and father leased slaves.

In Searching for Jim, Terrell Dempsey, a Hannibal lawyer, details the slave culture of Mark Twain’s Hannibal. He also sheds light on some interesting details of Mark Twain’s youth. Dempsey is our favorite kind of expert, the accidental kind, who simply chased down some bothersome facts.


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