Letter from Robert Smalls to Governor Daniel H. Chamberlain regarding riots among freedmen along the Combahee River, August 1876

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Document Description:

This document is a letter written by Robert Smalls on August 24, 1876. Smalls was writing to South Carolina Governor Daniel Chamberlain reporting on a strike in the Rice Districts of the state. Smalls noted that the strikers were not receiving money for their services, and were being overcharged for the goods and services needed to live. A resolution to the conflict came when the planters agreed to pay cash to their employees. Smalls ends his letter by asking Governor Chamberlain to end the system of checks, and assures him that by doing this, he will help restore peace to the Rice Districts of his state.


Smalls, Robert to Governor Daniel Chamberlain, 24 August 1876. Papers of Governor Daniel Chamberlain. S518024 Box 14. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The Student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina's role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.8 Summarize the effects of Reconstruction in South Carolina, including the development of public education, racial advancements and tensions, and economic changes.

Standard 4-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the Civil War and its impact on America.

Indicator 4-6.6 Summarize significant key battles, strategies, and turning points of the Civil War—including the battles of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, the Emancipation Proclamation, the significance of the Gettysburg Address, and the surrender at Appomattox—and the role of African Americans in the War.

Indicator 4-6.7 Explain the impact of the Civil War on the nation, including its effects on the physical environment and on the people—soldiers, women, African Americans, and the civilian population of the nation as a whole.

Standard 5-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of Reconstruction and its impact on racial relations in the United States.

Indicator 5-1.3 Summarize the provisions of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, including how the amendments protected the rights of African Americans and sought to enhance their political, social, and economic opportunities.

Indicator 5-1.6 Explain the purpose and motivations behind the rise of discriminatory laws and groups and their effect on the rights and opportunities of African Americans indifferent regions of the United States.

Note: Although this document was originally posted as part of a lesson specifically designed to teach the above standard(s), other Social Studies Standards may apply.

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Lessons Using This Document:

Robert Smalls: Warrior and Peacemaker

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