Robert Scott Smalls (1839 - 1915) MP

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Birthplace: Beaufort, SC
Death: Died
Managed by: Charles Edmonds
Last Updated:

About Robert Scott Smalls

Robert Smalls (April 5 , 1839–February 23, 1915) was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, became a ship's pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself and his family from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, the Planter, to freedom in Charleston harbor. He was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, and eventually became a politician—serving in both the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives. During his career, Smalls authored legislation that created in South Carolina the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States, founded the Republican Party of South Carolina, and convinced President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union army. He is notable as the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th congressional district until 2010.

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Robert Smalls, US Congressman's Timeline

1839
April 5, 1839
Beaufort, SC
1842
1842
Age 2
1858
1858
Age 18
1861
1861
Age 21
1915
February 23, 1915
Age 75
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Tabernacle Baptist Church Cemetery Beaufort Beaufort County South Carolina