Born: 5th April 1839
Died: 23rd February 1915
Birth Place: United States
Known for: Being an African-American politician.
Smalls escaped slavery and became a well respected politican.
He worked hard to help Black communities throughout his life.
He was also a successful businessman and leader.
Rise to freedom
Robert Smalls was born an enslaved person but became an African-American politician, publisher, and businessman. He freed himself in the Civil War and became a politician because he wanted to help make the United States a better place for Black people.
At age 23, before becoming a politician, Smalls fought in the Civil War on the side of the Union to end slavery. He was known as a hero for the daring way he escaped slavery. He worked many different jobs in the Civil War and became a very well respected person.
Life in politics
Later, Smalls won a seat in the South Carolina State legislature as a Republican. He then went on to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming an important person in the federal government. He made some big changes for South Carolina, including making public school free and compulsory for every child. He also started the Republican Party of South Carolina.
Smalls also started his own businesses. He set up a shop in 1866 to help sell things to freedmen who had once been enslaved. He spent much of the money he made on improving the area where he lived in South Carolina. He is remembered for how much he helped Black communities and for his success as a Black politician after the Civil War.
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