By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Robert Smalls was born into the harsh and inhuman system of slavery on april 5, 1839, owned by Henry Mckee. He grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina and was heavily influenced by his mother, Lydia Polite’s Gullah culture and heritage.
As an adolescent, Smalls’ master had him hired out as a laborer, hotel worker and lamplighter for the streets of Charleston.
Smalls would go on to perform work as a dockworker, sailmaker, and wheelman, (pretty much a pilot ) but slaves were not allowed to be given the honored title of pilot.
On December 24, 1856, while still a teenager, Robert smalls married Hannah Jones, when he was 17, she was 23 and was a slave working as a maid at a hotel. She already had two kids and would go on to have two more kids with Smalls, unfortunately for the couple, Robert Jr., the…
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