Charleston, South Carolina - Robert Smalls escaped slavery with a Confederate military transport ship. It was one of the most daring escapes of the American Slavery War (1861-1865).
Fall of 1861, Smalls steered the CSS Planter. It was a lightly armed Confederate military transport. This was under command of Charleston's District Commander, Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley.
The CSS Planter surveyed waterways and laid mines. It also delivered dispatches, troops, and supplies.
Smalls piloted the Planter in Charleston harbor and beyond. This included area rivers and the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Smalls and the Planter's crew saw the federal blockade ships, from Charleston harbor. They were in the outer harbor, seven (7) miles away. Smalls had the confidence of the Planter's crew. To the Planter's owners, the crew behaved.
Sometime in April 1862, Smalls planned an escape. He met the other enslaved, except one. That one he did not trust.
Friday, May 12th, 1862, the Planter stopped at Coles Island, on the Stono River. A Confederate post was being dismantled. The ship loaded four large guns. The guns were to be sent to a fort in Charleston harbor.
At Charleston, the Planter added 200 lb (91 kg) of ammunition and 20 cord (72 m3) of firewood.
Friday evening, May 12th, the Planter was docked. It was at the wharf, below General Ripley's headquarters. Its three (3) white officers left the ship to spend the night ashore. Smalls and the crew remained on board, as usual.
Before departure, Smalls asked Captain Relyea to allow crew families to visit. The request was granted. But, Smalls was told the families must depart before curfew.
The families arrived onboard. There, the plan was revealed to them. Only Hannah, Smalls' wife, knew he wanted to escape.
Hannah never knew her husband planned to escape that night. She resisted, at first. But, she told him, 'It is a risk, dear, but you and I, and our little ones must be free. I will go, for where you die, I will die.'
Other women resisted. They cried and screamed, and the men struggled to quiet them. After, the initial shock, those women were glad for a chance at freedom.
Later, three (3) crew members made a pretense that family members had been escorted back home. It was a trick. The crew members circled around and hid on another ship. It was docked at the North Atlantic wharf.
Around 3 a.m., Saturday, May 13th, Smalls, with seven of the eight slave crewmen, began their escape. Smalls wore the captain's uniform. He wore a straw hat similar to the captain's.
While working on the Planter, Smalls watched Captain Charles C. J. Relyea. Smalls learned his manners to complete the disguise. He hoped to fool onlookers from shore.
Smalls sailed the Planter past Southern Wharf. He stopped at another wharf, where his wife and children boarded. Families of other crewmen boarded, too.
Smalls had to get past five Confederate harbor forts. At each fort, he gave the correct signals at checkpoints.
Around 4:30 a.m., the Planter made it past the last fort, Fort Sumter.
The Fort Sumter alarm was raised after the Planter was beyond gun range. Smalls replaced the rebel flags with a white bed sheet, his wife brought. Then, Smalls headed to the Union Navy fleet.
The USS Onward was about to fire on the Planter, until a crewman saw the white flag. The sheet was difficult to see, in the dark. The sunrise made it visible.
John Frederick Nickels, Captain of the Onward, boarded the Planter. Smalls asked to display a United States flag. The Planter and its cargo were surrendered, to the United States Navy.
Everyone on the Planter, escaped enslavement and made it to freedom.
Atlanta, Georgia - The name of the first black baseball league was the Southern League of Colored Base Ballists. The Georgia Champions’ won against the Memphis Eclipse. The score was 11-10.
The league only lasted one year. But, it was not the last. The next year, the National Colored Base Ball League began in 1887. The leagues were formed due to racial exclusion laws in the United States.
Atlanta, Georgia - White doctors and white police forced black people to take injections. The claim by whites was that it was to stop smallpox. An inoculation for smallpox was known more than 150 years before, by the black man Onesimus.
Under the pretense of vaccination, white police broke into a black home. Inside, there was a wedding, with guests. The white police held everyone inside the home. White doctors came and forcibly injected them.
A judge was over a city court, where many black people were normally brought. When the judge gave the word, whites locked all inside. Black people were forced to take injections. The white police used violence to force injections.
Atlanta, Georgia - White mobs with white police attacked black people for 3 days. Whites feared competition from black people, who came to the city to work. White fears were inflamed by the recent print of the Clansman, the previous year.
Black people were pulled from streetcars. They were beaten, stabbed, and punched. Whites rode through black areas and randomly shot into buildings. At least 24 black people died. Only two whites died and one was from a heart attack. The other was from another white.
The news of the violence spread across the ocean. In France, it was reported that whites lynched black people. The London Telegraph read that whites started anti-black riots.
No whites were punished for their violence against black people. It took years to recover from the damage to black businesses, homes, and lost property, caused by the white mobs.
Opinion 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre
Opinion 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre
Why did the 1906 Atlanta Massacre happen?
Police violence and the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre
Washington, D. C. - The only trial in United States Supreme Court history ended. The verdict was guilty for all tried. Sheriff Shipp, Luther Williams, and Nick Nolan were sentenced to ninety days in jail for the lynching (death) of Ed Johnson, a black man. They were jailed in Washington, D. C.
After they served their sentence, the three (3) white males were greeted with a mob of 10-15,000 fans, in Tennessee.
Only Supreme Court Trial
Omaha, Nebraska - Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. His mother was Louise Helen Little (née Norton, born in Grenada). His father was Earl Little (born in Georgia).
Malcolm X's father was an outspoken Baptist lay preacher. Both his parents followed Pan-African activist Marcus Garvey.
Atlanta, Georgia - The movie, Gone With The Wind, was shown for the first time, in public. The black actress, Hattie McDaniel, had a major role in the movie.
It was the story of a family of Georgia slave owners. It covered the time just before and after the Slavery War (or Civil War). The movie showed the enslavers as decent and hard-working. Many were made to be sympathetic, despite their use of forced labor.
Black people were only in the movie as slaves, in the pre-War period. After the war, black people were shown as lazy or corrupt. The house slaves were shown as submissive, docile, childish, and obedient.
The story made slavery seem the same as a regular job. There were no whips, violence, hunger, or beatings against black people, shown in the movie. McDaniel's role, as a house slave, was used against black women to show them as obese, bossy, loyal to her abusers, and hostile to black men.
McDaniel was given an Oscar Award for her role. She was not allowed to attend the ceremony because she was black. Instead, it was given to her in private.
Atlanta, Georgia - Walt Disney, with RKO Pictures, showed Song of the South at the Fox Theater. It was a fictional story that combined live action with animation, in a musical format. All of the black actors (live and animated) spoke in broken English. All the white actors spoke clearly and with confidence.
The setting was a slave plantation. The main character, was Uncle Remus, a slave. He told stories to the child of the white slaveowners family. All the black people were slaves of the white characters. Black people were shown as happy, docile, obedient, submissive, and ready with a smile for their white enslavers.
On its release, many black Americans denounced the movie as an insult to the true history of chattel slavery. Walt Disney ignored the advice of many black people who tried to present a better image of black people. Disney chose to embrace base racial stereotypes that were common, for the time.
Racist stereotypes included the Mammy, the Magic Negro, the 'happy slave' among many others. These are parts of the Lost Cause Myth.
The movie was a commercial success, in its first release. It was released again in 1972, and was the most profitable animation re-release, up to that time.
Song of the South Background
Song Of The South Full Movie 1972 Re-release
Atlanta, Georgia - The Nation of Islam sent two (2) of its members to meet the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The two men were Malcolm X and Jeremiah X.
Elijah Muhammad wanted his mosques safe, in the South. A meeting was arranged with the KKK. It was held at the home of Jeremiah X. As national spokesman, Malcolm X spoke for the Nation of Islam.
The KKK speaker was W.S. Fellows. It was estimated 10% of the KKK were Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) snitches. The FBI may have used the meeting to learn more about the Nation of Islam.
The Nation of Islam got the safety it wanted. Malcolm X, it was believed, began to doubt Elijah Muhammad.
Brunswick, Georgia - The trial of two (2) white males who chased down and killed Ahmaud Arbery, and of the white male who filmed it, ended in convictions. Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William 'Roddie' Bryan were found guilty of his murder.
Arbery was passing through an area where the three (3) white males lived. When they saw Arbery, they grabbed guns and chased Arbery in a pickup truck. Bryan followed in his own truck. When Travis shot Arbery, Bryan recorded it on his cellphone.
The jury was almost all white, with one black juror. This followed the recent controversial jury trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse was cleared of all charges when he killed 2 white males, and injured a third. It was at a rally for the shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police worker.
Arbery Killers Convicted
Verdicts of Ahmaud Arbery's Killers