Hannibal kicks off a week of events to celebrate Juneteenth. The 23rd annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration's theme is “Lift Us Up." Jim's Journey Museum and the Juneteenth Celebration Committee is collaborating with the Missouri State Museum, the Hannibal Free Public Library,  the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum, Douglass Community Services, and the Willow Street Christian Church to make all events free.

Juneteenth is best described as the African American Independence Day,  a symbolic holiday which begun in Texas to commemorate freedom and emphasize education and cultural achievement.

One of Hannibal's hidden gems is Jim's Journey, a museum that https://www.jimsjourney.org/   highlights the courage and accomplishments of local African Americans by giving dignity to these nameless, invisible ancestors who endured so much to help build this community. The museum is the first building to greet visitors to Historic Downtown Hannibal. Located at 509 N. 3rd St., museum tours are given Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11-5 and Sunday 1-5. Jim's Journey is named for Jim the runaway slave in Mark Twain's "Adverntures of Huckleberry Finn." The character is based on Daniel Quarles who was a slave in Sam Clemens' household.

The month-long Juneteenth celebration opened with a display at Jim's Journey and available until the end of the month. It's from the Missouri State Museum's newest traveling exhibit, "Boom! The Rise and Fall of Missouri's Black Business Districts."  This exhibit interprets the history of five Black business districts including The Wedge in Hannibal. The local exhibit will highlight the people who influenced the growth and development of some of Hannibal's most prolific and enterprising men and women.

Hannibal's Juneteenth will close with a presentation by Darrell and Phyllis Dean, who will share how a grassroots effort turned an abandoned colored schoolhouse into the Jim's Journey history museum. They led the Canton Lincoln School Restoration Project unveiled recently.  Jim's Journey will host the event to be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 22nd.