The town of Beaufort, South Carolina is the starting point for this true story of a daring escape by an African American slave. It’s a beautiful seaside town and I’d fully recommend a visit. The text in this new edition was originally written by Louise Meriwether and published in 1971. Its re-release this year comes with colorful paintings throughout by renowned Southern artist Jonathan Green.
The tale is shared in just 32 pages, perfect for emerging readers and for out loud reading. Older readers will be spurred on to researching more about this time period. It’s a brave story of a man who wanted freedom for his family and decided the odds were best via the sea. I knew going in there was going to be a happy ending for our hero as Robert Smalls served for five terms in the U.S. Congress. I didn’t know if the journey was successful for his wife, two children and the rest of the slaves who hopped on board with their families. That answer is found within the story.
Here’s the official background:
Robert Smalls, born a slave in 1839 in Beaufort, South Carolina, gained fame as an African American hero of the American Civil War. The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls tells the inspirational story of Small’s life as a slave, his boyhood dream of freedom, and his bold and daring plan as a young man to commandeer a Confederate gunboat from Charleston Harbor and escape with fifteen fellow slaves and family members. Smalls joined the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain and became the first African American to command a U.S. service ship. After the war Smalls returned to Beaufort, bought the home of his former master, and began a long career in state and national politics.
History comes alive with books like THE FREEDOM SHIP OF ROBERT SMALLS. A great addition to any school or home library.