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This program was produced by the national educational radio under a grant from the Nassau. Nation to rob. And her exam days of reconstruction war was over. The name of this pilot was Robert
but he was a big. You ought to know his story. This is the way it was in our country in those days. On April 14th 1861 the blue coated Union soldiers marched away from battered Fort Sumpter to a waiting steamer which carried them to safety on the union vessels beyond the bar in Charleston Harbor. About six months later the union. Bar as a slave. So did his wife Charles.
How I'm glad you're home. I was worried about you. Tell me who won you know. It did me good to see the stripes flapping in the breeze again. Why don't you say something I don't know that it makes much difference who won the battle. He has gone by and Mr. Lincoln was elected president. He freed the slaves. I doubt he ever will remember he even said he was going to win his inauguration when the Union speech to the world stopped. Him I'm thinking about him and liberalism. There are things to be but in the eyes of the law there than you are playing in property. He can take them away. Salloum when ever he wants to get that paper out and read it again.
Let's see. Here it is. Thanks I hereby agree to sell my slave Hannah Joan Smalls and my slave Elizabeth Lydia smalls but we must get the baby's name put on to hand it to Robert Smalls for the sum of eight hundred dollars. Signed Samuel Clemens and a hundred than. I used to think on this if it will be our grown woman before we can scrape together all that money but we've got seven hundred dollars now even though these three years life is a lot of your way to see our Master Henry McKee rather frequently have an escape. We can Robert said not that we know. It just wouldn't work the harbors too well guarded on one hand. I hold that money in my hand and I dream I dream so hard about freedom that the word sticks in my throat. Freedom for you with the children and me and something more something bigger. Freedom for all our people. But I wouldn't be much of a pilot if I let the plant a run onto the mud bank.
I want to be on my family on a mud bank you know. War had become important so he made back. Then. Then one night when the crew. You know and we can agree on one because we didn't look like the captain.
This is our chance and I'm going to take that boat and hand it over to the Union forces with me wearing a captain hat and at night the sentries will think it's him. And what what'll happen if you're caught I'll be shot. But freedom is only a little way off in Buford. It's worth the risk. It's worth it for me and the children too. It's worth it for all of us. And then the time came for Robert Smalls to put his scheme into operation. The offices of the plant had been invited by the ladies of Charleston in honor of their gallant defenders that night Robert and the crew after tying up the plan for a very busy Confederate sentry guarding general Ripley's headquarters 50 yards away. Saw nothing wrong. There. Remember what I told you
and. You can write you like on a regular. I'm going to back around. Trust. Everything. Else what's coming up. As we go by. Now we
want some dirt on my trainers. Why don't we put on all the steam we got and go right on this because after every gun turned on us to blow it out of the water. And I think when we're looking down the muzzles. You know single. And why. Thank God. That's.
Going to be. First of the country like newspapers of the film praised this highly intelligent conference that was a better word play.
But I told you didn't I when we began this story it Robert Smalls had to fight for his principles and his people. First he had to fight to help me disband the first regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. Yes Mr Small of the negro regiment has been a great success. The men are so attentive enthusiastic but I cannot get authority from Washington for a negro regiment and I won't hold the volunteers any longer without pay without authorization and without proper equipment. But why can't you get the authority for the troops. The big question in Washington is will the negro fight and that is where you come in every time someone asks. Well the negro fight they answer is look at Smalls and the plant are. You going to Washington. You are going to see the president. You I hope are coming back with
authority to organize your mind. It wasn't easy. Mr. Lincoln was president of the whole country and he had to try to keep the whole country behind him. But the paragraph at the end of the order he sent back the commanding officer left little doubt of the president's conviction. You are also authorized to our uniform equip and receive into the service of the United States. Such numbers of volunteers are of African descent as you may being make speedy by reason act of Congress. All men and boys received into the service of the United States who may have been the slaves of rebel masters are with their wives mothers then children declared to be forever free. You and all in your command will go print and revive them. In time all the slaves were declared free. In time this terrible war
of brother against brother ended. But the wounded United States found it hard to build a new begin the reconstruction. Very bad mistakes were made by men of the north and men of the South. Robert Smalls though now a wealthy man and spokesman for his people knew serious problems and personal grief in the General Assembly and in the Senate of the state of South Carolina and in the Congress of the United States. But he accomplished much and always showed a special interest in the building of schools. When as an old man he went back to Buford where he was born. He made a new friend who he was the life and his hope for the future. General Parker proud yes. Great man. I'm too gentle. I'm done reasonably well. But imagine how much more I could have accomplished if I had some school. There's your bell now this is where you with your education is here
for you children. Good bye. Good bye. Let's go we do sound I ever heard except maybe for one and in a way the two sound alike to me now when I hear. And the one I remember. And they both lead in the same direction. This program was from the captain of the plant and was produced and directed by Norman Francis. Sam Roberts your announcer
Joan Pollock a grant from the National Foundation has made possible the production of this program for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
The glory road
Robert Smalls
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on ship's captain and politician Robert Smalls.
Series Description
The stories of African-Americans who have helped make the United States what it is today.
Broadcast Date
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
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Actor: Cahn, Rolf
Director: Wiser, Norman
Producer: Wiser, Norman
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-9-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:38
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Chicago: “The glory road; Robert Smalls,” 1966-02-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “The glory road; Robert Smalls.” 1966-02-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: The glory road; Robert Smalls. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from