Born a slave in Beaufort SC in 1839, Robert Smalls lived to serve as a Congressman of the United States.
In 1862, Smalls was a pilot on the steamer Planter. On the evening of May 12, 1862, Smalls and the other slaves got underway and stole the planter. Smalls surrendered the Planter to the U.S.S. Onward. Robert Smalls was then commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, Company B, 33rd Regiment, United States Colored Troops.
February 23, 1915 - Died. Buried at Tabernacle Baptist Church after what was called the largest funeral ever held in the city.
To commemorate Robert Smalls, the city of Beaufort, S.C., named a school and a highway for him.
Below a bust of Smalls, erected near his grave, is the following inscription:
My race needs no special defense,
for the past history of them in this country
proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere.
All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life
November 1, 1895
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