Robert Smalls (1839-1915), a mulatto conscripted into the Confederate Army, became a war hero at age 23 when he hijacked a Confederate Army ammunitions transport ship and turned it over to the Union Navy.
He became a spokesperson against slavery and served admirably in the Union Navy as a ship captain.
In 1864, he led one of the first boycotts of public transportation in Philadelphia after being ousted from an all-white streetcar. (In 1867, the city integrated its streetcars.)
Smalls opened a school and created a newspaper. He later became a U.S. Congressman, defeating a white "reform" opponent, in 1874. A life-long Republican, he served for five terms and helped convince Abraham Lincoln to accept African-Americans in the Union Army.
Mixed Experience History Month is an annual blog post series celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established on this blog in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to illuminate achievements of multiracial and multicultural individuals (not tragic mulattoes) and people and events central to the Mixed experience. Please look for more profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May right here at Lightskinned-ed Girl, the blog! Thanks for reading.