SCF Library and Family Heritage House Museum Host Robert Smalls Traveling Exhibition

(Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 30, 2018) — An exhibit area in the new Library & Learning Center at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton, will host the Robert Smalls Traveling Exhibition Feb. 1 through March 31. The exhibition, co-sponsored by the Family Heritage House Museum, will include a presentation at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 by Cate Lineberry, author of “Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero.”

Robert Smalls was an enslaved African-American, who after freeing himself by commandeering the Confederate naval ship CSS Planter, convinced Abraham Lincoln to permit black men to fight for the Union. He was later elected to the South Carolina House and Senate where he authored legislation making South Carolina the first state to have a free and compulsory public school system. In 1874 Smalls was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, eventually serving two different districts after the South Carolina legislature gerrymandered its districts.

Curated by Smalls’ great-granddaughter, Lakewood Ranch resident Dr. Helen Boulware Moore, the exhibit includes furniture from the “big house” where Smalls and his mother were enslaved, letters to Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas, photographs, a replica of the CSS Planter and copies of legislation Smalls authored while in office.

For more information about the Robert Smalls Traveling Exhibition, visit To read more about Cate Lineberry’s book, visit For information about the Family Heritage House Museum, call 941-752-5319.

Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls

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