Something Trump can do with his pen to heal the nation

President Trump can rename the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis, which honors a 20th-century racist. He was a mere politician who never served in the armed forces.

Stennis was a zealous supporter of racial segregation. He signed the Southern Manifesto, which called for resistance to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. He also voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Name it after a genuine Navy hero whose name ought to be a household term: Robert Smalls.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery. He worked as a pilot in the harbor at Charleston when the Civil War started. Smalls was assigned to steer the CSS Planter, an armed Confederate military transport. He stole the boat while the boat's officers were asleep, and then he successfully sailed past Confederate forts that guarded the port. Later, Smalls was sent to see President Lincoln by the Union commander at Port Royal who was impressed with his skills. Smalls was given command of his old vessel, making him the first black naval captain of the war. As a slave he had planted mines, and he was now working to destroy railroad bridges.

Wikipedia adds (citations omitted):

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – February 23, 1915) was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, gained freedom and became a ship's pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade. His example and persuasion helped convince President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy.

Smalls was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. After the American Civil War, he returned there and became a politician, winning election as a Republican to the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives during the Reconstruction era. As a politician, Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States. He founded the Republican Party of South Carolina. Due to the state's white Democrats disfranchising most blacks Smalls was the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th congressional district until 2010. ...

Smalls was a loyal Republican. On August 22, 1912, he wrote to U.S. Senator Knute Nelson, "I never lose sight of the fact that had it not been for the Republican Party, I never would have been an office-holder of any kind—from 1862 to the present." In words that became famous, he described his party as "the party of Lincoln...which unshackled the necks of four million human beings". He wrote this line on September 12, 1912, in a letter expressing his anxiety over the looming presidential election. He concluded that letter, "I ask that every colored man in the North who has a vote to cast, would cast that vote for the regular republican party and thus bury the democratic party so deep that there will not be seen even a bubble coming from the spot where the burial took place."

There is a small "logistics ship" named after Smalls.  A carrier should be named after him – which would also create a "Robert Smalls Battle Group."

President Trump should invite to the renaming ceremony all living ex-presidents, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, South Carolina's Senator Tim Scott, and any of Small's descendants who can be located.  Asking President Obama to speak would be an act of graciousness in all too short supply right now.

President Trump can rename the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis, which honors a 20th-century racist. He was a mere politician who never served in the armed forces.

Stennis was a zealous supporter of racial segregation. He signed the Southern Manifesto, which called for resistance to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. He also voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Name it after a genuine Navy hero whose name ought to be a household term: Robert Smalls.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery. He worked as a pilot in the harbor at Charleston when the Civil War started. Smalls was assigned to steer the CSS Planter, an armed Confederate military transport. He stole the boat while the boat's officers were asleep, and then he successfully sailed past Confederate forts that guarded the port. Later, Smalls was sent to see President Lincoln by the Union commander at Port Royal who was impressed with his skills. Smalls was given command of his old vessel, making him the first black naval captain of the war. As a slave he had planted mines, and he was now working to destroy railroad bridges.

Wikipedia adds (citations omitted):

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – February 23, 1915) was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, gained freedom and became a ship's pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade. His example and persuasion helped convince President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy.

Smalls was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. After the American Civil War, he returned there and became a politician, winning election as a Republican to the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives during the Reconstruction era. As a politician, Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States. He founded the Republican Party of South Carolina. Due to the state's white Democrats disfranchising most blacks Smalls was the last Republican to represent South Carolina's 5th congressional district until 2010. ...

Smalls was a loyal Republican. On August 22, 1912, he wrote to U.S. Senator Knute Nelson, "I never lose sight of the fact that had it not been for the Republican Party, I never would have been an office-holder of any kind—from 1862 to the present." In words that became famous, he described his party as "the party of Lincoln...which unshackled the necks of four million human beings". He wrote this line on September 12, 1912, in a letter expressing his anxiety over the looming presidential election. He concluded that letter, "I ask that every colored man in the North who has a vote to cast, would cast that vote for the regular republican party and thus bury the democratic party so deep that there will not be seen even a bubble coming from the spot where the burial took place."

There is a small "logistics ship" named after Smalls.  A carrier should be named after him – which would also create a "Robert Smalls Battle Group."

President Trump should invite to the renaming ceremony all living ex-presidents, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, South Carolina's Senator Tim Scott, and any of Small's descendants who can be located.  Asking President Obama to speak would be an act of graciousness in all too short supply right now.

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