Investigations

Natchez House

The Case:

On the "Spanish Esplanade" overlooking the Mississippi River, there is a magnificent home that for years was believed to be the original home of one of the Spanish dons who colonized the area. Recently, this story was discovered to be a myth.

The original owner was actually a free man of color named Robert D. Smith, who built it himself in 1851, 12 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

The new homeowners, Ruth and Jim Coy, have been actively pursuing the history of Robert Smith and they have a question. According to a recently discovered record, Smith arrived in New Orleans on a slave ship.

How did Robert Smith go from traveling on a ship full of captive individuals destined for servitude to owning a luxurious home?

The History Detectives trace the rise of this unique individual.

Discuss this story

Aired:
Season 1, Episode 5

Detective:
Tukufu Zuberi Location:
Natchez, Mississippi

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