South Carolina ETV

Walter Edgar's Journal

Greenville Chautauqua: Robert Smalls


Friday - June 06, 2014


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About This Show

Robert Smalls was born into Slavery April 5, 1839 in Beaufort, South Carolina. At age 23, he was a crewman on the steamer Planter, an armed transport in service to the Confederate defenders of Charleston. On May 13, 1862, Smalls, with a crew of other enslaved men, embarked on a daring dash for freedom. Before dawn, without alerting the guards, he piloted the Planter from Southern Warf to North Atlantic Wharf. Near this spot, he picked up his family and guided the vessel past the harbor defenses to the Union ships blockading Charleston harbor. This heroic act of bravery made him a national hero and contributed to the Union war effort.

Smalls story is being brought to life at the 2014 Greenville Chautauqua, in June. Dr. A.V. Huff, professor emeritus of history, Furman University; Robert Smalls portrayer Donald Sweeper; and, Greenville Chautauqua Director Caroline McIntyre join Dr. Edgar to talk about Greenville Chautauqua and about Robert Smalls.


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