10 Facts about Robert Smalls

Post On: August 8, 2018

Let us find out the enslaved African American who became a politician on Facts about Robert Smalls. He could become a sea captain and a ship’s pilot after getting his own freedom by escaping from slavery. Smalls was born on 5th April 1839 and died on 23rd February 1915. During the American Civil War, he gained the freedom for himself, families and crew. On 13th May 1862, CSS Planter was commandeered by Smalls in Charleston harbor. It was a transport ship of the Confederate. He sailed the ship to the United States blockade from Confederate controlled waters. Here are other interesting facts about Robert Smalls below:

Facts about Robert Smalls 1: African American soldiers

The African American soldiers were accepted into the Union Army and Navy due to the ability of Smalls to convince Abraham Lincoln.

Facts about Robert Smalls 2: the birthplace of Smalls

The birthplace of Smalls was located in Beaufort, South Carolina. Smalls took the role as a politician after he returned to his birthplace after the end of American Civil War. He appeared as the winner for South Carolina State Legislature from Republican Party. During the Reconstruction Era, he was in the US House of Representatives.

Facts about Robert Smalls

Facts about Robert Smalls

Facts about Robert Smalls 3: the public school system

The first free and compulsory public school system in US was launched in South Carolina due to the state legislation of Smalls’ thinking.

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Facts about Robert Smalls 4: Republican Party

In South Carolina, Smalls was considered as an important politician. He set the foundation for the Republican Party. The last Republican who became the representative of the fifth congressional district of South Carolina until 2010 was Robert Smalls.

Facts about Robert Smalls 5: the birthplace

Do you know the birthplace of Smalls? It was located in a cabin of Henry McKee’s House. Smalls was born as the slave of McKee in 1839. The house was located in Beaufort, South Carolina on 511 Prince Street.

Robert Smalls Gunboat Planter

Robert Smalls Gunboat Planter

Facts about Robert Smalls 6: parents

Lydia Polite was the mother of Robert Smalls. We never know about his father. Henry McKee was considered as the possible father of Smalls. The Lowcountry Gullah culture shaped and influenced Smalls when he grew up.

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Facts about Robert Smalls 7: working as a laborer

Smalls became a laborer after he was sent to Charleston by his master at the age 12.

Facts about Robert Smalls 8: the jobs

Smalls had tried various jobs when he was in Charleston. He had a job at the docks and wharves due to his love to the sea.



Facts about Robert Smalls 9: marriage

On 24th December 1856, he and Hannah Jones got married. At that time, Smalls was only 17 years old. His wife was an enslaved hotel house cleaner.

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Facts about Robert Smalls 10: who was Hannah Jones?

Hannah Jones already had two daughters. He was five years younger. In February 1858, the first child of the couple was born. She was named Elizabeth Lydia Smalls. Their son was born three years later. However, he died two years later.

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