African Americans' story told in Hannibal

When you think of Hannibal, you think Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens, but a new museum in Hannibal shows a history of the city most people know little about.

The Hannibal African American History exhibit is set to open Saturday in the Hannibal History Museum.

Organizer Faye Dant and her husband Joel grew up in Hannibal during the segregation and integration of African Americans in the late 50's and early 60s.

After moving away for many years, she and her husband returned to their hometown recently.

That's when they started to see that the history of African Americans wasn't being told anywhere in town.

They created this exhibit with the help of area residents.

It follows the history of the people from the first slaves to arrive with the city's founder Moses Bates...all the way through the decades until desegregation.

It features black businesses, soldiers and leaders in the community.

She says it's a story of success - how this group of people built businesses, homes and a school for their children.

The Dants say it's a story that wasn't being told.

Joel Dant said, "It's almost like African Americans in Hannibal never existed, so we thought it was important to tell the story of all the achievements of all the people who came from Hannibal."

Faye Dant said, "What my story tells is a people who were successful despite the hurdles of segregation, but we overcame those obstacles and created a flourishing community within the community."

A grant from the Missouri Humanities Council paid for the exhibit.

The exhibit opens at 2p.m. Saturday, September 10 and will be dedicated at 3p.m. It's located in the Hannibal History Museum at 217 Main Street in Hannibal.