17 Unsung Heroes Of Black History

Written by Julia Austin

Robert Smalls

Smalls was born into slavery in South Carolina, and worked mostly on ships. He taught himself to read and in 1862, Smalls snuck his family aboard the “Planter,”— a Confederate steamer — raised the Confederate flag and sailed it past other Confederate ships on its way to the Union to share Confederate secrets. Smalls later went on to serve on the South Carolina Senate and the U.S. Congress.