Robert Smalls - Badass


Small (3.0" x 3.8")


Joined February 2018

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Sizing Information

3.0" x 3.8"


  • Removable, individually die-cut vinyl
  • Ideal for smooth flat surfaces like laptops, journals, windows, etc.
  • 1/8th of an inch white border around each design

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Cases & Skins

Home Decor



Artist's Description

Badass Moments In History: Robert Small’s Mutiny
Way back before Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat, before Martin Luther King Jr. marched for civil rights, and even before slavery was abolished, there was a man fighting for racial justice on a slave ship. In 1862, there was a 22-year-old slave named Robert Small, who freed himself, the crew and many of their families in a single act of bravery and defiance that helped turn the tide of war favorably for the abolitionist movement.

Keep reading to see why VK Nagrani thinks Robert Small’s mutiny aboard the CSS Planter was one seriously Badass Moment in History.

1. Forced Slavery

Not that slavery is voluntary in any capacity, but as Robert Small was rumored to be the illegitimate son of his master – he was given relatively exceptional treatment, all things considered. He lived in the house with mother a few other house servants, but Robert’s mother wanted him to experience the real horrors of slavery, so at the age of twelve his mother sent him out to the cotton fields.

His encounters with slavery, whipping posts and all, changed him and instilled a disdain for authority and a spirit of rebellion.

2. Mutiny

Robert proved himself to be a worthy seafarer and stevedore, so he was relegated to work on the CSS Planter as a ship hand. While working as a crewmember, he carefully plotted his daring escape and waited for just the right moment. One night, the ship set anchor in Charleston, a small harbor town on the coast of South Carolina, and the white crew and free men left the boat for the night, leaving only the slaves aboard. It was then that Robert Small made his move – he quickly told the remaining slaves on board that he was going to commandeer the ship and sail them to freedom.

A few slaves stayed behind to save themselves from the most certain death that would be waiting for them, were they to be caught.

Robert Small donned the hat of the captain and sailed up the coast into Union-occupied territory. They almost began firing, thinking it was a rogue ship that had drifted into enemy territory, until they saw a white bed sheet floating in the wind – the international sign of surrender. Smalls was able to provide valuable information about the Confederacy’s naval fleet, that eventually led to their demise.

3. Aftermath

One man risked everything to save his wife, children and fellow slaves and bring them all safely into the North. Even more, after he was a freedman, he continued his fight for justice by becoming part of the South Carolina legislature and eventually a member of the House of Representatives. During his time as a representative, he played a prominent role in getting President Lincoln to accept black soldiers into the United States Army and Navy.

Keep it tuned to the VK Nagrani Blog for more deep looks into some seriously Badass Moments in History.

State politics
Smalls was a delegate at the 1868 South Carolina Constitutional Convention where he was a part of the effort to make free, compulsory schooling available to all South Carolina children.19 He also served as a delegate at several Republican National Conventions; he also participated in the South Carolina Republican State conventions.

In 1868, Smalls was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was very effective, and introduced the Homestead Act and introduced and worked to pass the Civil Rights bill. In 1870, Jonathan Jasper Wright was elected judge of the South Carolina Supreme Court and Smalls was elected to fill his unexpired time in the Senate. He continued in the Senate, winning the 1872 election against W. J. Whipper. In the senate he was considered a very good speaker and debater. He was on the Finance Committee and chairman of the Public Printing Committee.2919

He was a delegate to the National Republican Conventions in 1872 in Philadelphia, which nominated Grant for president; and in 1876 in Cincinnati, which nominated Hayes; and in 1884 in Chicago, which nominated Blaine29—and then continuously to all conventions until 1896.30

In 1873, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Third regiment, South Carolina State Militia. He was later promoted to brigadier-general of the Second Brigade, South Carolina Militia, and the major-general of the Second Division, South Carolina State Militia. He held this position until 1877, when Democrats took control of the state government.29[19

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