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Treasured Moments In Black History: Robert Smalls

February 17, 2023

Hope has a strange way of shining. It’s most evident in difficult times. This is Treasured Moments In Black History.

It was 1862, Robert Smalls was 23. As a slave, he worked for confederates in Charleston, South Carolina. His job? To pilot Planter, a transport steamer.

On May 13th, the ship was loaded with armaments for the rebel forts. Early in the morning, Smalls and his crew commandeered the 147 foot vessel. They then rescued Smalls’ wife, children, and 12 other slaves from another ship.

Smalls put on the captain’s broad-brimmed straw hat and imitated the captain’s typical stance in the pilot house. As the boat moved by each rebel fort, Smalls gave the correct whistle signal and was allowed to pass.

Before long, they approached a union blockade prepared to fire upon the Planter, but Smalls hoisted a white flag indicating surrender. He, his wife, his children, and the crew were free. Smalls heroic act resulted in one newspaper calling him a national hero.

Two months later, Planter, commanded by Captain Nickerson with Smalls as pilot, came under crossfire between a confederate battery, a union battery, and a union ship. Captain Nickerson ordered it beached and then went below and hid.

Smalls refused the order and took over the vessel, bringing it safely out of danger. When Planter docked, it was met by the department commander, Major General Gilmore who ordered that Nickerson be immediately dismissed for cowardice.

Robert Smalls was appointed captain in his place.

Treasured Moments in Black History is brought to you by Moody Publishers and their book Kingdom Race Theology by Dr. Tony Evans.

In every generation, God uses ordinary people to accomplish great things!
Treasured Moments in Black History by Moody Radio remembers the people and events in America that have shaped
history and inspired lives. By looking back and highlighting these moments, you will be inspired,
enriched and encouraged in your faith walk to make history for God’s kingdom.

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