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Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls was born into slavery and pushed into fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, at the age of 23, he took a chance to not only free him and his family, but those who vowed to step up and fight against the Confederacy alongside him.

While on the ship named The Planter, Smalls observed the day-to-day behaviors of the crew. With the support of other slaves on board, he sprung into action. Sneaking into the Charleston harbor at night, Smalls and company anchored the boat, collected their families, and took a brave sail towards freedom. His innovative thinking and fearless hunger for freedom would pay off in a big way. Today, we celebrate him as one of the most heroic slaves of the Civil War.

In this episode of Black History in Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and with additional commentary from Farrah Griffin, we honor Smalls’ journey, his leadership, and his undying quest for freedom.

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