Robert Smalls was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, gained freedom and became a ship's pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, CSS 'Planter', in Charleston harbor, shouting "I'm the captain now!", and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade. Wikipedia*
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