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Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:17:48 -0600
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Somebody asked privately about what Booker T Washington had said about HF, so I’ve added another snippet from my essay. To read the entire essay I suggest getting your hands on a copy of Rasmussen’s book, HF Critical Insights: 

Praise from prominent authors and public figures continued after Mark Twain's death in 1910. Contributing a letter to a tribute in the North American Review, the African American educator Booker T. Washington focused on the character Jim, saying that Mark Twain "succeeded in making his readers feel a genuine respect for Jim, in spite of the ignorance [Jim] displays" and in doing so that Mark Twain "exhibited his sympathy and interest in the masses of the negro people" (Washington 829). 

Here endeth the snippets. That’s all I said in the essay, due to space constraints. I will add that I find it interesting that 20th century readers are often upset that Jim is portrayed the way he is, but that Booker T Washington was not. I suppose that as an educator, BTW fully understood the ignorance imposed on blacks during centuries of slavery, and understood, as did Twain, that Jim was not stupid. Jim was merely a good-hearted and smart man that had been deprived of an education, who knew what it took to survive in the white world of his day.   

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