Jim's Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center is the country's first memorial to Jim; the first to pay homage to Jim's prototype Daniel Quarles; and the only African American history museum in Northeast Missouri

In a town awash with everything Twain, we tell a much different story of Samuel Clemens and Hannibal.
Mark Twain wrote things as they were. His writings showed the unfiltered reality of life in rural Missouri. Jim, from "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," is one of Twain's most renowned characters. Twain gave us Jim to show the plight of African Americans in the pre-Civil War United States.

Additionally, Samuel Clemens was the first white American author to humanize a slave, making him more than a fixture as he contributed to the fight against racism, bigotry and social justice.

Most know that Jim is a fictional character but you may not know that he was based on the very real Daniel Quarles, a slave on his uncle's farm in Florida, Missouri. The emancipated Daniel lived and died here in Hannibal. This is a tribute to his legacy and an opportunity to learn what it was like for his descendants, and the people whose resilience made this story possible and made Hannibal a richer community. It's an intimate look at the local African American condition from Hannibal's 1819 founding.

Hannibal's African American community was able to rise to prominence despite great adversity. Along with teaching the community about Samuel Clemens, the humanitarian, Daniel Quarles, the prototype for Jim. we also celebrate the accomplishments of the local African American community and reflect on their achievements and the trials they had to overcome.


A trip to this museum will educate and inspire visitors to want to learn more.

Visit us today to gain a deeper understanding of the people and this rich cultural history, here we give visitors new insight into the world of slavery and the life for African Americans in 19th century Hannibal.

Jim's Journey highlights a cornerstone of American history, here you will be convinced that African American history is American history. Our museum is perfect for:

  • Students who want to gain a greater understanding of African American heritage
  • Tourists who want a reference point for Mark Twain's found inspiration
  • Mark Twain enthusiasts will gain more insight into Mark Twain's works

You'll find that our museum is emotionally moving and eye-opening. Come in to reflect on our shared history.


Plan your visit

We're open for tours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time, we're open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or you can come see us on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Call 217-617-1507 anytime for more information about our museum and to arrange a private tour.