Mark Twain (1835-1910), as the world knows him, is the perpetually quotable writer of such classic American novels as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) and Tom Sawyer (1874). But some people don’t know that Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the name he was born with — or that he published the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, the most popular book of the 19th century.
Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves, declaring:
“Lincoln’s Proclamation … not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also“.
He argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States of America, saying:
“I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature … but I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done to him“.
He paid for at least one Black person to attend Yale Law School and for another Black person to attend a southern university.
What’s most remarkable about Twain’s work is that, more than 100 years after he wrote his stories, they remain not only remarkably funny but remarkably modern. Plus, he was smokin’ hot and hairy and endlessly quotable!
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”
“Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”
Twain clearly did not heed his own advice:
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”