Teaching Literature in the Context of Literacy Instruction

Jocelyn A. Chadwick and John Grassie’s new book, Teaching Literature in the Context of Literacy Instruction, considers the changing role of literature in the classroom. As students increasingly ask why they are required to study classic literature, teachers must offer answers that make reading relevant to a modern audience. For more information about their forthcoming book, watch an interview with the authors.

Around the Web

A new post details one mother’s trip to Jim’s Journey with her children. As she mentions in her post, “The kids enjoyed Jim’s Journey so much that they asked about a return trip.” Read more about their visit over at Adventures with My Family.

Jim’s Journey Featured in New Book, Writing America

Available October 14th, eminent Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin’s new book, Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee, features a section on Jim’s Journey. The book explores the “places that shaped American writers’ lives,” according to the description.

“Rather than just providing a cursory overview of these authors’ achievements, acclaimed literary scholar and cultural historian Shelley Fisher Fishkin offers a deep and personal reflection on how key sites bore witness to the struggles of American writers and inspired their dreams. She probes the global impact of American writers’ innovative art and also examines the distinctive contributions to American culture by American writers.” (from the description)

We would like to extend our congratulations to Professor Fishkin on the publication her book as well as our gratitude for including Jim’s Journey as a literary landmark. Professor Fishkin has been an early friend and supporter of the museum. We encourage you to read more about her project here. Her book is now available on Amazon.

National History Day

Jim’s Journey would like to encourage students in grades 4-12 to participate in the National History Day contest. This year’s theme is Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in history. As their website explains, “The intentional selection of the theme for NHD is to provide an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.” The competition will take place June 12-16, 2016. We encourage interested students to take advantage of the information and artifacts available at Jim’s Journey to create their projects. Click here for more information.

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Past Events

Production of  Paxton Williams’s  new play, Of Shoal Water, Fog, and Flight: The Adventures of Jim Watson

Inspired by the life of Daniel Quarels as well as Twain’s depictions of Jim in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chautauqua scholar Paxton Williams’s new one-man play imagines what Jim’s life may have been like after the close of Twain’s famous novel. Williams cites the assistance and encouragement of museum director, Faye Dant, in preparing the play, stating,

“When Faye encouraged me to consider preparing such a piece, I knew right away that this would be among my next projects. Faye and all involved with Jim’s Journey have provided a wonderful gift for us all. It is my hope that this piece will serve the purpose of illuminating an era and a people we would be well-served to remember, and that it will also add to the work that all involved with Jim’s Journey are doing.”

Jim’s Journey congratulates Williams on his new play and is please to announce that the museum will host a performance the piece in Hannibal. Details to be announced.

October 24-25, 2015: Cultural Recovery: Roles of Museums and Archives

Faye Dant has been invited to present at this joint conference of the Missouri Association for Museums and Archives and the Missouri Humanities Council in Columbia, MO. The chosen theme of this year’s conference is The Untold Story of Daniel Quarles.

September 21, 2015: 4th Anniversary of Jim’s Journey

Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center is pleased to announce its fourth anniversary. Here at  Hannibal’s only Black history museum, the narrative of African American struggles and triumphs doesn’t begin and end in February. Instead, visitors to the museum can learn from local Black history year round. The museum’s founder, herself a sixth-generation Missourian, describes it as a labor of love born of a burning desire to reconcile the invisibility of Hannibal’s African American residents with the town’s Mark Twain fascination.  

Situated in a small stone building constructed before the Civil War and located at 509 N. 3rd Street in Hannibal, Jim’s Journey celebrates three things: Samuel Clemens, the humanitarian who supported human rights for all people; Huck Finn’s friend and mentor, Jim, and Jim’s real-life counterpart, Daniel Quarles; and the local history of Hannibal’s pre- and post- emancipation African American community.

In this community-centered museum, displays showcase photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts collected and donated by the residents of Hannibal and museum supporters. Each of the items hints at a story of its own.

Thank you to all the visitors and supporters who have made the past four years possible. We encourage you to stop in and celebrate our fourth anniversary with us!

September 19, 2015: Donald L. Scott discusses his memoirFormer Hannibal Area Resident Discusses His Memoir.jpg

In honor of the museum’s second anniversary and Donald Scott’s recently published memoir, Recipient of Grace, Jim’s Journey will host a reception and book signing. A former Hannibal resident, Scott served as a Brigadier General in the U. S. Army and Chief Operating Officer for the Library of Congress. Scott also served as a co-founder of Jim’s Journey, demonstrating his commitment to preserving and sharing African American history. His book is currently available on Amazon.

August 7-9, 2015: Zeta Days


Zeta Days celebrates Zeta Phi Beta Sorority founder Arizona Cleaver Stemons, a graduate of and former teacher at Hannibal’s Douglass School. Activities are planned in honor of one of Hannibal’s most accomplished natives. Jim’s Journey has recently received a grant to research and compile a biography of Stemons’s life before the Zetas.

August 9, 2015: Closing reception for This Is What Freedom Looks Like Exhibit

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Held in the Jim’s Journey museum, the closing reception for the This Is What Freedom Looks Like art exhibit drew more than fifty artists and supporters. Festivities culminated in a tour of the museum. The success of the exhibit has helped to create a new relationship between Jim’s Journey and the St. Louis Arts community.

The exhibit also helped the museum to gain wider attention among Twain scholars. Kent Rasmussen submitted photos of the museum to the Twain Forum as well as a forthcoming book about Twain and youth. Kevin MacDonnel has provided the museum with new information on John T. Lewis, a key figure in Hannibal’s African American history, including photos of a book Twain inscribed to his friend Lewis. Mention of Jim’s Journey will also be included in Loren Ghiglione’s book, Mark Twain and Hannibal, Yesterday and Today. Sharon McCoy requested a submission on Daniel Quarles and his family from curator Faye Dant to include in her All Things Twain: An Encyclopedia of Mark Twain’s World, a project currently underway. Scholarly interest in Hannibal’s first black history museum continues to grow!

June 26-August 8, 2015: This Is What Freedom Looks Like Art Exhibit

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In conjunction with the Hannibal Arts Council, Jim’s Journey will host an open art exhibit, curated by museum director Faye Dant, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Ordinance of Missouri. The 1865 ordinance freed more than 114,000 men, women, and children throughout Missouri. A century and a half later, artists have created original pieces to express what freedom means to them.

Featuring artwork by members of the St. Louis Portfolio Gallery:

  • Charles Bibbs
  • Jenece Booker
  • Basil Kincaid
  • Dean Mitchell
  • Lonnie Powell
  • Robert A. Powell

As well as submissions by:

  • Preston Jackson
  • Solomon Thurman
  • Sami Bentil
  • DE’Joneiro Jones
  • William Burton
  • Lois Ingrum
  • Freida Wheaton
  • Robert Ketchens
  • Najjar Abdul Musawwir

And local artists, including Ezra Thompson, among others.

July 23-25, 2015: Clemens Conference 2015

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum hosted a symposium inviting Twain scholars to spend three days in Hannibal presenting papers on Samuel Clemens. During their stay, attendees were offered the opportunity to participate in a number of local Hannibal tours. By request, Jim’s Journey remained open from 10am – 5pm on July 22nd and from 1pm – 5pm on July 24th to allows visiting scholars to tour the museum.