During Black History Month, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc is honoring a series of Black innovators and history makers such as Robert Smalls who are often overlooked in mainstream media coverage and history books. Check back throughout February to learn more about important figures.
Born: April 5, 1839, Beaufort, South Carolina
Died: Feb. 3, 1915
Best known for: Taking possession of a Confederate ship and delivering its 16 enslaved passengers to freedom.
Robert Smalls was born into slavery, but during the Civil War, he piloted a ship out of the Charleston Harbor, surrendering it to the Union navy, thus freeing the 16 enslaved men, women and children on board. Later, he became a captain and U.S. representative.