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BOOK REVIEWS265 dustry. This is well illustrated, not by die failures which were legion, but by the successes which were remarkable. This book is well written and researched and constitutes a muchneeded addition to Civil War naval history. Most of the records for Union shipbuilding are readily available at the National Archives. On the other hand, the Confederate documents are scattered, and although a large part of the operational accounts are published in the Official Records the business, supply and construction records were largely left out of this publication. As a result die audior has done a remarkable job of collecting this scattered and fragmentary material, providing an excellent , readable account of this very useful subject. Frank Lawrence Owsley, Jr. Auburn University From Slavery to Public Service: Robert Smalls 1839-1915. By Okon Edet Uya. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971. Pp. 166. $6.00.) Okon Uya's book is one of a series of biographies of black Americans and black Africans being produced by die Oxford University Press to fulfill the need for biographies of black historical figures. The central figure of Uya's biography, Robert Smalls, born a slave in 1839, and trained as a boat pilot, became a hero on May 13, 1862, when he abducted a Confederate ship, die Planter, containing a cargo of Confederate artillery and sixteen blacks, from Charleston harbor and guided it to the Union fleet. Thereafter, Smalls was a controversial and colorful personality in South Carolina. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Union army, he was detailed to continue as pilot of the Planter, which was involved in numerous successful Union attacks. During the course of the war, Smalls actively solicited support for the Port Royal, South Carolina blacks who had been acquired as contraband when die Union army captured the area in November, 1861. At war's end, he was paid $1,500.00 as his interest in the Planter and discharged from service. After the Civil War, Smalls set up a school in Beaufort, South Carolina for black children and also acquired extensive real estate and other property for his own use. During Congressional Reconstruction in 1867, he was elected a delegate to the state constitutional convention. In the convention, he supported a proposal to exempt homesteads of 100 acres from court action while opposing a clause removing disabilities from rebels. His most important contribution according to Uya, was a proposal that free, state supported, compulsory public education be provided . The audior believes that no other leader could have challenged the popularity of Smalls among his Beaufort constituency in which blacks outnumbered whites 7 to 1. Besides being a war hero, he had acquired money and power, could speak the GuIIah dialect, had shown generosity to the slave holding family who had once owned him and in short could 266CIVIL WAR HISTORY do no wrong. He was elected a state senator in 1870, and as a representative in Congress in 1874. According to Uya, the economic deterioration of his home county of Beaufort as well as Reconstruction violence were the primary concerns of Smalls. Blacks in Beaufort needed to become land owning farmers, but most of the land belonged to federal government. Not until he was elected to Congress in 1875, did Smalls succeed in influencing the passage of a bill which made it possible to buy government lands at low prices. By 1890, three-fourths of land in Beaufort was owned by blacks. When the Democrats came to power again, Smalls was one of the Republican subjects of prosecutions carried out by the Redeemer government in 1876 and 1877. He was convicted of accepting a $5,000 bribe for fraudulently acknowledging that a printing claim of $25,000 had been passed and approved by the Assembly while he was chairman of the committee on printing. When Smalls appealed to the Supreme Court, a deal was arranged whereby his charges of federal election law violation against the state were dropped in exchange for South Carolina's dropping charges against him. Uya believes the case was a miscarriage of justice and motivated by political vendetta. Smalls served two more terms in Congress and retired after his defeat in 1886. He...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 265-266
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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