From: Jeff LaGarce, Hannibal City Manager
Date: September 19, 2016
On Thursday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m., members of the Descendants of Douglasville and the Huck Finn Freedom Center (Jim’s Journey) will sponsor a dedication tribute to a man named Joe Douglas. This event will be held at 823 Hill Street, immediately adjacent to the Rockcliffe Mansion on Hill Street, and the same site where Mr. Douglas once lived. The sponsors have developed a long-overdue dedication plaque commemorating the life and contributions of Mr. Douglas, which will be unveiled at the September 29 dedication ceremony. Speakers will also tell the story of Joe Douglas’ life; many of whom have ancestors who actually knew him.
Joe Douglas was a local entrepreneur, who moved to Hannibal as a child in the early 1800s, and lived until the 1920s. He was responsible for creating of one America’s oldest communities comprised of former slaves. The community is named in his honor, Douglasville. Allegedly, Mr. Douglas was the inspiration behind Mark Twain’s Injun Joe character, though he was African-American, and unlike the literary character, never harmed anyone.
Members of the public are invited to attend this dedication. Speakers will pay homage to the interesting life of Joe Douglas, his contributions to this community, and relate first-hand stories their ancestors – who actually knew Joe Douglas – handed down to them.