From staff reports
Monday, April 5 will mark the 182nd birthday of Robert Smalls.
Smalls, born a slave April 5, 1839 in Beaufort, commandeered a Confederate ship – the CSS Planter – during the Civil War and sailed it from Charleston harbor to the U.S. Naval blockade, freeing himself, his crew and their families.
He helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.
Smalls returned to Beaufort after the Civil War and was elected to the South Carolina Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives during Reconstruction. He founded the S.C. Republican Party and wrote the legislation providing for S.C. to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States.
To honor his birthday, the Beaufort Republican Women’s Club will be hosting a unity event from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Tabernacle Baptist Church courtyard at 907 Craven Street. The event is free and the public is invited. For more information, call Angel Flewelling at 843-271-3368.