African in America Icon - Robert Smalls
The Greatest of Our People Can Not be Denied
Under the worse conditions imaginable Robert Smalls went from a plantation in South Carolina to the US Congress in Washington DC. His story should be taught to every child especially our children instead of the pack of lies that's taught about Christopher Columbus and many others to support their misleading narrative.
We must Love, Honor and Respect our Ancestors for the great accomplishments, build on the foundation of their legacy and create a better life for the next generation.
Learn more about our history in America that is not taught in schools.
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The Greatness of Robert Smalls
Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – February 23, 1915) was an American politician, publisher, businessman, and naval pilot. Born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina, he freed himself, his crew, and their families during the American Civil War by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, on May 13, 1862, and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters of the harbor to the U.S. blockade that surrounded it. Robert Smalls then piloted the ship to the Union-controlled enclave in Beaufort-Port Royal-Hilton Head area, where it became a Union warship. Robert Smalls example and persuasion helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army which resulted in the Union being victorious in the American Civil War.
After the American Civil War, Robert Smalls returned to Beaufort and became a politician, winning election as a Republican to the South Carolina Legislature and the United States House of Representatives during the Reconstruction era. Robert Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States. He founded the Republican Party of South Carolina. Robert Smalls was the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th congressional district until 2011.
Robert Smalls purchased his former master's house at 511 Prince St, which Union tax authorities had seized in 1863 for refusal to pay taxes. Later, the former owner sued to regain the property, but Smalls retained ownership in the court case. The case became an important precedent in other, similar cases. His mother, Lydia, lived with him for the remainder of her life. He allowed his former master's wife, the elderly Jane Bond McKee, to move into her former home prior to her death. Robert Smalls spent nine months learning to read and write. He purchased a two-story Beaumont building to use as a school for African-American children.
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