Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?Breaking News
tags: slavery, black resistance
In the darkest hours before dawn on May 13, 1862, Robert M. Smalls and seven enslaved crewman commandeered Charleston's Confederate ship, the CSS Planter.
Smalls -- camouflaged with a stolen captain's uniform -- brazenly steered the Planter carrying these slaves and their families past two Confederate checkpoints, including Fort Sumter. At the very height of the Civil War, Smalls outwitted his masters and the Confederacy to deliver himself and 17 enslaved African-Americans from slavery to freedom.
Smalls would go on to serve in the South Carolina State legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives, where he founded the Republican Party of South Carolina and authored legislation that provided the first free public school system in South Carolina, which was segregated by custom and then law.
Despite this unbelievable escape narrative and his political importance to South Carolina, Charleston offered no commemorative statue or marker to Robert M. Smalls until two years ago. It is only recently that Charleston has begun to finally commemorate such historic African-American figures as Denmark Vesey or the civil rights protesters of the 1960s with statues, placards and small memorials.
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