Once in a while, an individual rises up who surpasses every social boundary and every limitation to change history. Robert Smalls was such a man: Born on the 5th of April, 1839, Robert Smalls went from being a slave in South Carolina to a Civil War hero (he commandeered a Confederate ship, rescued slaves including his family along the way, and gave the Union valuable information along with the ship and its code books), and eventually went on to become a Congressman as well as a Senator, elected no less than five times; he has been given honours such as having met President Lincoln and thereby convincing Lincoln to accept African American soldiers into the US Army; he became the first black captain of a US vessel during the Civil War, and had a US army ship named after him as late as 2004 (the first army ship to be named after an African American). He eventually bought the house of his former master for his family home, and lived to see the outbreak of World War I; he passed away on the 23rd of February, 1915.
His epitaph reads: “My race needs no special defence, 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.”
To read more about this man’s fascinating life and accomplishments, please click on the image.