On May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls impersonated a Confederate captain, stole a gunboat, and sailed his family away from enslavement. His great-great-grandson, Michael Boulware Moore, told the story on the Criminal podcast this week – it’s a nail-biter everyone should hear.

Click here to access the 30-minute podcast:

Struck by the story, I built a set of questions to guide students through the episode. I plan to pair this with Frederick Douglass’ “The Battle with Mr. Covey” the next time I take juniors through American Realism, though it could also work as a standalone lesson or supplement any unit focused on heroism, freedom, or justice. Click here or on the image below to download a free copy of my question/answer sheets:


I’m always looking for podcasts that’ll fit into one class period and hold students’ attention, so definitely let me know if you find a program that’s high-interest and appropriate for classroom use. I’m listening.

Teach on, everyone!

Image credits
Robert Smalls: National Park Service, FlickrCC BY 2.0
South Carolina map: United States Coast Survey, Library of Congress, WikiMedia Commons, Public domain

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Thank you, Laura! This sounds really interesting!


  2. Thanks, Carolyn! I think you and your students will really enjoy the storytelling elements in this one. Enjoy! 🙂


  3. The questions sound like a great resource.
    I’ve come across this podcast before, researching the graphic novel I’m creating about Smalls.

    He’s such an inspiration!


  4. Glad we’re both spreading the word about Robert Smalls! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m working on it… slowly but surely!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


American literture, high school English, informational text, lesson plan, podcast, print and teach, Uncategorized, writing


, ,