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Posted on Sep 10, 2007 in History News

New History Exhibition to Debut in Baltimore, MD

Armchair General

Robert Smalls: Slave, Soldier, Statesman
An intimate portrait of the first black captain of a U.S. vessel and Civil War hero


Boca Raton, FL: Robert Smalls: Slave, Soldier, Statesman, presented by the Weider History Group, Inc., makes its debut September 15th aboard the largest Army vessel, the Major General Robert Smalls (LSV-8), during the ship’s commissioning ceremony in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The MG Robert Smalls, a Logistics Support Vessel, is the first Army ship to bear the name of an African American and the first named for a Civil War Hero. The exhibit will be open to the public at the Top of the World Gallery in Baltimore’s World Trade Center from September 16 – December 15, 2007, courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts ( Following Baltimore, the exhibit will be on view at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Washington, DC for Black History Month, February 2008 (


On May 13, 1862 Smalls, a 23-year-old slave pilot, commandeered Planter, a Confederate transport steamer, from Charleston. With his wife, children, and 12 other slaves aboard he passed the rebel forts in the harbor, sailed to the nearest Union blockading vessel and surrendered. Union newspapers nationwide lauded Smalls’ gallantry. Smalls became the first black captain of a U.S. vessel, a South Carolina legislator and militia general. He served 5 terms in the U.S. Congress. For nearly 20 years he was U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort S.C., where he lived as owner in the house in which he had been a slave.

ROBERT SMALLS: Slave, Soldier, Statesman, a photographic exhibition, was created by Kitt Haley Alexander, writer, artist, educator, inspirational public speaker, and founder of the Robert Smalls Legacy Foundation ( The exhbition now travels to museums throughout the US to bring awareness to Smalls’ remarkable life. It provides an intimate portrait of Civil War hero Robert Smalls, told in the voice of his dynamic great-granddaughter, Dolly Nash.

The USAV Major General Robert Smalls was named as a result of Alexander’s 7-year solo campaign to have a naval vessel named for this largely forgotten American hero. The $25 million Army Reserve ship is 314′ long, with a beam of 60′ and a payload of 2000 tons. It is the Army’s largest powered watercraft and will be used to re-supply troops worldwide.

According to Eric Weider, publisher of Weider History Group, "In history we find powerful examples of man at his best and at his worst. In Robert Smalls we find a person that reflects man at his very best. He lived a life of courage and service that is an inspiration to all people of all ages. In remembering him we better ourselves." With 11 titles, Weider History Group ( is the world’s largest publisher of history magazines including American History, America’s Civil War, Armchair General, Aviation History, British Heritage, Civil War Times, Military History Quarterly, Military History, Vietnam, Wild West, and World War II.

Visitors traveling to the exhibit can reserve special guestroom rates through the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore by mentioning code: RSMALL (410-539-8400 or online: As an official sponsor of the Robert Smalls Slave, Soldier, Statesman exhibition, the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore, on the National Register of Historic Places, continues to impress visitors as Baltimore’s only historic landmark hotel located in the heart of the city near the famous Inner Harbor and World Trade Center.

Robert Smalls: Slave, Soldier, Statesman is circulated by ArtVision Exhibitions, LLC. To host the exhibit in your city, contact Vickie A. Rehberg, exhibition marketing manager at 800-983-2145, email: