The Journey of Robert Smalls
Charleston Gaillard Center
Director and Script Development: JaMeeka D. Holloway
Original Story and Script Development: Teralyn Reiter
Media Designer: Joseph Amodei
Costume Designer and Script Development: Celeste Jennings
Script Development: Caroline Randall Williams
Cultural Consultant: Dr. Jessica Berry, Gullah
Set Designer: MeJah Balams
Lighting Designer: Kathy Perkins
Sound Designer: Preston Dunnavant
Music Director: Charlton Singleton
Movement Director: Tristan Andrés Parks
Historian/Dramaturg: Damon Fordham
Racial Equity Facilitator: Jacqueline E. Lawton
Production Supervisor: Becca Edins
Photos: Amos Adams and Kathy A. Perkins
Based on the awe-inspiring life of South Carolina’s own Robert Smalls, FINDING FREEDOM celebrates and chronicles the remarkable story and legacy of a great American hero.
Born enslaved on the McKee Plantation in Beaufort, SC a young Robert Smalls is sent off to Charleston to work on the docks of the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War. Trusted by his family, crew mates and determined beyond his circumstances, on a foggy night, in the early hours of May 13, 1862, Robert changes the course of his destiny and history when he seizes the Confederate’s USS Planter and steers it into the Union Blockade off the coast of Charleston Harbor.
When President Abraham Lincoln asked why he risked his life, Robert replied with one word: FREEDOM.
Infusing music, media and movement, FINDING FREEDOM paints the early years of a bright-eyed Robert Smalls enslaved in Beaufort; learning the land, waters and Gullah traditions of his mother, his daring and heroic commandeering of the USS Planter through the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War, to his later life of advocacy in the US House of Representatives.