This book tells the story of the life of Robert Smalls, an enslaved African American, born in Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1839. During and after the American Civil War, he became a ship's pilot, a sea captain, and a politician. He freed himself and his family from slavery and was instrumental in the creation of South Carolina's public school system. He wrote in 1895, My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.
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