VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 34 POSTED ON: 10/8/2012
ROBERT SMALLS 1839-1915 Robert Smalls Early Life • Born a slave April 5,1839 in Beaufort, SC • Son of Lydia Polite, a house slave for John K. McKee – had a tremendous impact on his life • At 12 years old, sent to Charleston to hire himself out for pay; until he turned 18, his owner received all but $1.00 of Small’s pay. At 18 negotiated with owner to keep $15 per month of his pay. • At 17, married Hannah Jones,32, a slave hotel maid on December 24, 1856. • After a daughter Elizabeth Lydia was born, Smalls entered a contract with his owner, Samuel Kingman, to buy his wife and child for $800. A son, Robert, Jr. was born in 1861. • Hired in 1861 as a deckhand on the Planter, a transport steamer serving Brigadier General Roswell Ripley, commander of the Second Military District of SC. • Smalls advanced and became a pilot of the Planter. USS Keokuk 1863 May 13, 1862 • Commandeered the Confederate transport ship, the Planter on May 13, 1862. • Smalls, age 23, along with his wife, children and 12 other slaves escaped to Union forces. Impact of liberating the Planter • NY Daily Tribune: • “Is he not also a man – and is he not fit for freedom, since he made such a hazardous dash to gain it?....Is he not a man and a hero—whose pluck has not been questioned by even the Charleston Courier or the New York Herald?...What white man has made a bolder dash, or won a richer prize in the teeth of such perils during war?...Perhaps [blacks are inferior to whites] but they seem to possess good material for improvement. Few white men have a better record than Robert Smalls.” • Along with missionary Mansfield French, Met with Secretary of War Stanton and President Lincoln in 1862. – Requested and received permission to recruit 5,000 troops – Sent on a speaking tour of New York to raise support for the Union cause. • Smalls provided valuable information to Union Forces – Directed Union Commander Marchand to “cross the bar with several gunboats and occupy Stono. The river was occupied as far up as Legareville, and examinations extended further, to ascertain the position of the enemies’ batteries. The seizure of Stono Inlet and river secured an important base for future operations, and was virtually a turning of the forces in Charleston harbor.” (Navy Report to President Lincoln) May 1862 – Contributions of contrabands • April 7, 1863 – pilot of ironclad Keokuk during the failed Union attack on Fort Sumter. Keokuk struck 90+ times. • (1st Battle of Charleston Harbor) • December 1, 1863, Smalls became the first black captain of a vessel in the service of the U.S. – Daughter, Sarah Voorhees, was born on the same date. • Smalls taught to read and write by tutors • After the Civil War, became a major general in the South Carolina militia and a state legislator. • Hanna died in 1883 • Married Annie Elizabeth Wigg in 1890; they had one son, Robert Smalls • Annie died in 1895 Political Life • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (SC 5th and 7th Districts) Republican Party (Beaufort, SC) • March 1875-March 1879 • July 1862-March 1883 • March 1884-March 1887 • Submitted legislation that created the first public schools in South Carolina; SC Public Accommodation Act; U.S. Legislation that created Parris Island Marine Base • Served as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort, SC for nearly 20 years. • Was the most powerful African American male in South Carolina for five decades “My Race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.” Robert Smalls, November 1, 1895 The LSV-8 MG Robert Smalls Largest Army Transport Ship 2004 Christening FIRST RECONSTRUCTION LEGISLATURES Black % of state Black White Black % of State population (1870) Legislators Legislators Legislature South Carolina 59 84 73 53 Mississippi 56 40 75 34 Louisiana 51 49 88 36 Florida 49 19 57 25 Alabama 48 26 58 30 Georgia 46 32 214 13 Virginia 42 27 154 15 North Carolina 37 19 135 12 Texas 31 11 156 6 Tennessee 26 1 94 1 Arkansas 25 0 87 0 ECONOMIC IMPACT OF WAR • South per capita income decreased by 1/3 • AL, LA, MS, GA, SC lost 45.8% of total wealth • No Marshall type plan CENTRAL THEME • Central to the national debate over Reconstruction Efforts of Southern African Americans to breathe full meaning into their newly acquired freedom. Prodded Americans at their first attempt to live up to the noble professions of the Constitution. SC RECONSTRUCTION • 1864 – Robert Smalls selected from SC to participate in the 1864 Republican National Convention—denied seating. • 1867 – New Constitution – Convention of 48 whites and 76 blacks meet. Write a progressive constitution. • 1869 – Joseph Rainey becomes the first AA in South Carolina to become a U.S. Representative in Congress. Followed by seven others before African Americans are driven out of elected office: Robert C. DeLarge, Robert Brown Elliott, Richard H. Cain, Alonzo Rainier, Robert Smalls, Thomas E. Miller, and George W. Murray Education (Freedmen Bureau) • Bureau extended in 1866 – Congress included the first educational provisions, along with a one-half million dollar appropriation for the “repair and rental” of school property (law interpreted broadly and imaginatively and proved flexible). – Repair and rental resulted in many new school buildings and old buildings of all sorts converted into schoolhouses. Education (Freedmen Bureau) • Freedmen urged to begin construction of a building, paying what they could and providing labor. – Under the rubric “repairs” the Bureau paid for the completion of the work often including windows, flooring, furniture… In it’s seven years of educational work, it is estimated that the Bureau spent nearly four million dollars on school buildings. AA RESPONSES TO SOCIAL, POLITICAL & ECONOMIC ISSUES • Education (Universal, AA and Northern Support) • Labor/Sharecropping • Spiritual (churches) • Economic (Land, Benevolent Societies, Businesses) • Universal Manhood Suffrage Black Conventions, Sit-ins and Strikes Note: AA leaders who were former slaves were often more concerned about land and labor issues; non-former slave AA leaders were often more concerned about civil rights’ issues. SC Reconstruction and Education SC RECONSTRUCTION • 1870 – State Legislature, with AA in control, passes a law to create a state-wide public school system. First such effort in state. • 1873 – The first African Americans enter the University of SC. Most white faculty and students leave, but the school remains open with the help of white faculty from North. After Reconstruction, USC reopened as an all-white school. Richard Greener 1844-1922 1870 - First African American graduate of Harvard and dean of the Howard university School of Law 1873 - Professor of mental and moral philosophy at the University of South Carolina 1877 – Moved to DC as Clerk in the Treasury Dept. and Professor in Howard Law School 1898 – Appointed US Commercial Agent in Vladivostok, Russia until 1905 NORMAL SCHOOL STUDENTS, CIRCA, 1874, COLUMBIA,SC SC RECONSTRUCTION EDUCATION • 1870 – Allen University (AME) • 1870 - Benedict College (Northern Baptists) IMPACT OF RECONSTRUCTION • First time a national third party emerges (Grant elected in 1868—charges of corruption and incompetence created the Liberal Republican Party (1872); helped prevent reelection of Grant. • New laws and constitutional amendments permanently altered federal system and nature of American citizenship. • Establishment of state-wide southern public education systems.
Pages to are hidden for
"ROBERT SMALLS 1839-1915 Robert Smalls Early Life Born a slave "Please download to view full document