Hannibal resident Faye Dant is researching the oft-forgotten African-American history of America’s Hometown. An alumna of Douglass School and native of the Douglasville neighborhood, she recently moved back to Hannibal with her husband to live on the richly historic farm off New London Gravel Road that her father-in-law purchased in 1949.
Below is a video of Dant discussing some of her family heirlooms, which in many ways kick-started the research she hopes to eventually showcase in an exhibition.
Here is an excerpt from the announcement and call for contributions that Dant has been circulating throughout the community.
Did you know that Hannibal once published two Black newspapers? Did you know that a freed slave started his career here as a school Principal and later became the first Black US Senator? Did you know that George Wallace, the first openly pro-segregation Presidential candidate, held a rally here in Central Park with the KKK as his backdrop? I didn’t. This helped me decide that someone should document all these unknown facts so I started researching the life and history of local African Americans – “Hannibal’s African Americans-The Invisibles”.
As most of the community has been demolished or changed beyond recognition, I’m appealing to YOU to help document this history. First, I’d like copies of your family’s earliest photographs, pictures, signs, news articles and other memorabilia to display in an Exhibit which highlights the businesses, communities, schools, churches and accomplishments of individuals from the area Secondly, I’d like to videotape an oral history of your experience growing up here.
Dant will hold an open house for contributors from 1 to 5 p.m. every Saturday in April at the farm, 56708 Carson Trail in Hannibal. She also makes house calls; call (217) 617-1507 to set up an appointment.