In May of 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave from South Carolina, loaded his family aboard a Confederate steamship and sailed it past the heavily armed defenses of Charleston Harbor, delivering the boat to the Union blockade just a few miles further out.

His daring act that day made him a hero in the North, an outlaw throughout the Confederacy and a powerful symbol of hope and freedom to the enslaved people of the South.

May 13th, 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of the day Robert Smalls decided to put an end to his life of bondage.

The Courage of Robert Smalls is a short film written, produced and directed by Matt Burrows for South Carolina Educational Television, funded in part by a grant from the South Carolina Hall of Fame.

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