Was Huck Finn Black?

A Twain scholar says a loquacious 10-year-old inspired the character

So who was Huckleberry Finn anyway? The most celebrated hobo hero in American literature took on a new dimension when Shelley Fisher Fishkin, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, unveiled the research that went into her forthcoming book, Was Huck Black? Mark Twain and African-American Voices.

Twain said Huckleberry Finn, the young narrator of his most famous book, was based on Tom Blankenship, a poor white boy in Hannibal, Mo. But Fishkin argues that Huck's voice was in part inspired by Jimmy, a 10-year-old black servant. Twain described this boy in an 1874 article in the New York...

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