Library Presents Reenactment of African American War Hero


The Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library will kick off its Black History Month roster of programs by presenting a stage reenactment of Robert Smalls, a Union hero of the American Civil War, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Donald Sweeper, an African American historian, will portray the life of Robert Smalls, Chautauqua-style, as if the year was 1895.  Dressed in costume, Sweeper will assume the persona of Smalls, a prominent African American, and one of South Carolina’s most remarkable men.  Born into slavery in 1839 in Beaufort, Smalls escaped slavery in 1862 by commandeering a Confederate Planter boat and delivering it to the Union side in Charleston Harbor, all while cleverly fooling onlookers onshore who believed the boat was being piloted by a locally known Confederate officer.  Smalls went on to become a ship captain in the U.S. Navy. After the Civil War, Smalls returned to his home town of Beaufort, which he represented for five terms in the United States Congress, both during and after Reconstruction.

Donald Sweeper is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry and has been a storyteller and a re-enactor for more than 10 years.  His expertise is in coastal environmental and oceanic atmospheric sciences, and he is a rice, slavery, and Gullah historian.  He is currently employed as a middle school teacher in the Midlands, and is a member of the South Carolina Humanities Council Speakers Bureau.

This free presentation is made possible by a grant from the South Carolina Humanities Council and supplemented by support of by Friends of Florence County Library. More information can be obtained by calling 843-413-7074.