Escaping was a bold move, considering the unique way that Robert and Hannah Smalls lived.
Unlike many other slaves, they were permitted to live on their own and Robert was given permission to make money by hiring himself out for various jobs throughout Charleston.
But I also knew that our lives in Charleston were very good, as good as some of the poor white laborers.
I knew that with another year of saving we could purchase our freedom outright.
May 12, 1862 Tonight, on the eve of our escape, I write with a purpose different than every night before this. Because he cannot write, I must tell the story of our plan.
Should our plan fail we will not survive, yet someone must know of our attempt.
Yet he is a strong man, one of the strongest I have known.
While he has been so low in spirit he has found a way to survive by planning for hope.
He spoke softly but with a force I had never before seen.
There would never be real freedom in the South if the Confederacy won the war, he said.