OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS (BECAUSE HE HAS A NAME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH).
Robert Smalls was born into slavery in 1839 and. at the age of 12. his owner leased him out in Charleston, South Carolina. He gravitated towards working at the docks and on boats and eventually became the equivalent of a pilot, and in late 1861 he found himself assigned to a military transport boat named the CSS Planter.
On the 12th of May, 1862, the white officers decided to spend the night on land. Smalls rounded up the enslaved crew and they hatched a plan, and once the officers were long gone they made a run for it, only stopping to pick up their families (who they notified) along the way. Smalls, disguised as the captain, steered the boat past Confederate forts (including Ft. Sumter) and over to the Union blockade, raising a white sheet his wife took from her job as a hotel maid as a flag of truce. The Planter had a highly valuable code book and all manner of explosives on board.
Smalls ended up serving in the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain there. He was also one of a number of individuals who talked to Abraham Lincoln about the possibility of African-American soldiers fighting for the Union, which became a reality.
After the war, Smalls bought his owner’s old plantation in Beaufort and even allowed the owner’s sickly wife to move back in until her death. He eventually served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1865-70), the South Carolina Senate (1871-74), and the United States House of Representatives (1875-79) and represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 1882-83 and the 7th District from 1884-87. He and other black politicians also fought against an amendment designed to disenfranchise black voters in 1895, but it unfortunately passed.
Smalls ended his public life by serving as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort from 1889-1911. He died in 1915 at the age of 75.
And now you know Robert Smalls. ROBERT SMALLS IS THE MAN!
Soldiers’ Inventories by Thom Atkinson, for the Telegraph Magazine.
editor: Great series of British soldiers’ equipment from different wars and battles through British history & up to the present. See the original story on the Telegraph website, an interview on Creative Review, & full series of images on ThomAtkinson.com.
Footage of one of the most iconic moments of the 20th Century, of a man, sometimes identified as Wang Weilinn, who stands in front of and halts a column of tanks the day after Chinese military forces had brutally suppressed protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Little is known about the man’s identity or his fate.
The regime which these protests opposed remains in power, and discussion of the events is forbidden in China to this day.
Vera Atkins (real name Vera-May Rosenberg) was recruited by the spymaster known as Intrepid—Canadian business man William Stephesen—at the age of twenty-three and before the outbreak of World War II found herself fighting along side American, Canadian and British civilians to derail the dangers of the Third Reich. By the mid-1930s she was already an experienced spy, currying and sending information to both President Roosevelt and Churchill.
When the Second World War finally broke out in Europe, Atkins had secured herself a high ranking position in Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) and became Great Britain’s greatest female agent of the war. However, despite her position of power she remained a civilian, not becoming commissioned officer until 1944 in WAAF.
Atkins’ job was to select and train the female field agents to jump into enemy occupied countries. She trained her agents who in turn jumped deep into enemy territory to aid Resistance, destroy vital targets, help Allied pilots evade capture and radio information back to London. Her agents were said to be the most prepared and dedicated of those trained by the SOE and were “prepared to die to liberate Europe from the Nazis”; in many cases her agents did.
Although decommissioned in 1947, her work didn’t stop. She went to Germany on her own to try and discover the fates of her agents that had disappeared behind enemy lines. She investigated all 118 losses of the F section successfully, save for one, whose fate she could never find.
She largely shied away from speaking about her wartime efforts; “Vera chose obscurity…Men didn’t like the idea of a spymisstress.” In fact, she was noted for ‘outfoxing’ many about her service who would later lead extensive careers from the OSS to CIA, and SOE to MI5. Many would not know of her work until she spoke of it herself, a skill that came in common when she began working during the Cold War. She was known for disappearing and reappearing months at a time without a word.
Ian Fleming, the man who would create James Bond, hailed Atkins as “the boss [in the real world of spies]” and purportedly based the character of Miss Moneypenny off her. On countless occasions, he cited Atkins for reminding him that “Bond and blunt instruments were the weapons of the weak.”
Vera Atkins died at the age of 92 in a nursing home located in Hasting on 24 June 2000.
and my U.S. History teacher was trying to get us to understand why it was such a big deal that England had put a tax on colonial sugar, and he goes,
"What if you had to pay a tax every time you logged onto wifi?"
And the whole class just went
and I heard at least two people whisper “I would murder someone”
I will keep reblogging this in the name of historical science
Before the ticker tape parades and the inevitable world tour, the triumphant Apollo 11 astronauts were greeted with a more mundane aspect of life on Earth when they splashed down 40 years ago today - going through customs.
Just what did Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have to declare? Moon rocks, moon dust and other lunar samples, according to the customs form filed at the Honolulu Airport in Hawaii on July 24, 1969 - the day the Apollo 11 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean to end their historic moon landing mission.
The customs form is signed by all three Apollo 11 astronauts. They declared their cargo and listed their flight route as starting Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral) in Florida with a stopover on the moon.
Tea leaves collected from Boston harbor the morning after the Boston Tea Party.
“Tea that was gathered up on the Shore of Dorchester Neck on the morning after the destruction of the three Cargos at Boston December 17, 1773.”
i’m so pleased that this means someone during the event was like “yeah this is probably gonna be historically interesting” and just ran out there with, like, what, a net? some cloth? fishing around in the fucking bay to collect tea to put in a bottle? you go, buddy
Good job, anonymous 18th century person. Your commitment to historic preservation pleases me.
The Great Carrot Deception of World War II.
During the Battle of Britain, a battle in which the German Luftwaffe (air force) expected to simply sweep the RAF (Royal Air Force) out of the skies, the Germans were baffled as to how the British were able to put up such a staunch defense. What was most confusing of all was that the British seemed to know where all their attack were coming from. British pilots were even able to intercept and shoot down German bombers in the pitch black of night.
What the Germans didn’t know was that the British had an ace up their sleeve. British radar technology had advanced to the point that British fighter pilots could find and shoot down enemy bombers directed by an onboard radar interception unit. Knowledge of Britain’s radar technology was top secret, and the Brits certainly didn’t want the Germans to find out. The British War Ministry quickly cooked up a cartoonish and bizarre cover story for their success.
The Ministry single out a successful pilot named John Cunningham for a unique propaganda campaign. John Cunningham, nicknamed “Cat Eyes” had shot down 19 German bombers at night using the new onboard radar system. Cunningham was also a man loved to eat carrots, sometimes eating dozens at a time in one sitting. Thus the British War Ministry cooked up an ridiculous carrot of their own; the reason for the RAF’s night fighting success was because British pilots ate carrots. Chalk full of Vitamin A, the carrots gave British pilots almost superhuman night vision. To cement their story, a propaganda campaign was started to convince the British people that carrots were good for eyesight. They printed posters claiming carrots gave people nightvision, necessary for survival in blackouts and bombing raids. They advertised on the radio, they printed leaflets, they even introduced a special carrot pop for children.
While today scientific studies prove that carrots, at best, might improve vision a little bit, the propaganda campaign was certainly pumping out a steady stream of over-exaggerated BS. However, the British public certainly bought it. More importantly to some degree the Germans bought it as well. While it is unknown if German High Command accepted the “carrot theory”, there are recorded instanced of German Luftwaffe pilots eating an excess of carrots to improve their vision.
After the Battle of Britain the carrot campaign continued to the point that even other Allied Powers were printing their own carrot propaganda. Today the myth is still alive and well, and millions of children around the world are forced to eat their carrots due to World War II propaganda.
During the war, carrots became super popular as a replacement for sugar. There are ration-era recipes for everything from carrot pudding to carrot “fudge” (which is nothing more than ground or grated carrots set in gelatin. mmmm-ick).
Because they were so naturally sweet, they were added to a lot of the well…less enticing meals that were generally offered. Liver and other organ meats (which were much cheaper than the better cuts), were significantly better received after recipes using carrots and onions instead of just onions were passed around.
the industrial revolution was a lot like when you finally figure out how to upgrade your skills in a game after not knowing how to do it for several levels and then just goin nuts
then you decide to gank every newbie in the starting area and then run scams to cheat old, well-established guildies out of their gear, Need on every drop in every instance, and everybody just asks “what the fuck, england”
and then you sneer “lern 2 play” back at them.
Broadsword of Oliver Cromwell
- Dated: circa 1650
- Culture: English
- Medium: etched steel [blade]; embossed iron chiseled in high relief, wood, silver wire [hilt]
- Measurements: overall length: 38 1/8 inches (96.8 cm). Blade length: 32 1/2 × 1 15/16 inches (82.6 × 4.9 cm). Hilt: 5 1/16 × 4 5/8 inches (12.9 × 11.7 cm). Pommel height: 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm). Pommel diameter: 1 5/16 inches (3.3 cm). Weight: 3.1 lb. (1405 g)
This is one of the finest surviving swords of a type favored during the English Civil War (1642-51). The long-standing association of this sword with English statesman Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is consistent with the unusual inscription and heraldic arms of England and Ireland on the blade, and with the outstanding quality of the hilt’s chiseled decoration.
Daughter of a gun (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ No idea if such a thing existed but surely there had to be girls born on board in the Age of Sail?
*puts on obnoxious historian hat*
there were actually tons of women and girls on board ships during the age of sail and it’s really cool history that no one!!! ever!!! talks about!!!
like captains of merchant ships used to bring their wives and children on board for long voyages all the time (and of course there were plenty of well known female pirate ship captains, and women cross-dressing as men, and prostitutes that more people seem to know of)
there’s actually a really amazing story of one woman, Mary Ann Patten who was the wife of the captain of this ship called Neptune’s Car. Captain Patten decided that he wanted her onboard with him and she was super about this and learned all about navigation and sailing and everything. so this one voyage they’re going around the tip of south america when her husband gets sick and is bed ridden with a fever right as the ship sails into one of the worst storms any of the crew had ever seen and it looks like they might lose the ship or have to stop
so you know who takes over??? the first mate???
she took over the whole crew and sailed that ship through freezing water and pack ice and had it coasting smoothly into the san francisco harbour like it was nothing. and she did this all at age 19. while pregnant.
at one point the first mate tried to get the crew to mutiny against her but they all rallied with her and told him to shut the heck up because she obv knew what she was doing.
there’s a great book about women in the age of sail called ‘female tars’ by suzanne stark that i cannot recommend enough and has way more amazing stories and insights about the myriad roles women and girls played aboard ship during that time period.
(sorry i totally didn’t mean to hijack your post i love all of your art and this is gorgeous i just got over excited sorry sorry sorry)
We need links!
Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail by Suzanne Stark
Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail by Joan Druett
Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920 edited by Margaret S. Creighton and Lisa Norling
Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920 by Joan Druett
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen
Seafaring Women: Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways and Sailors’ Wives by David Cordingly
The Captain’s Best Mate: The Journal of Mary Chipman Lawrence on the Whaler Addison, 1856-1860 by Mary Chipman Lawrence
Women Sailors and Sailors’ Women: An Untold Maritime History by David Cordingly
I’M GONNA GET A LIBRARY CARD AS SOON AS I GET AN APARTMENT AND READ LITERALLY ALL OF THESE AND WEEP TEARS OF PROUD SISTERHOOD