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.
- Also in Season 1 Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Short Snorter Was this British ten-shilling note witness to the forging of the alliance between America and Britain?
- Related Investigation Fiery Cross What is the story behind this record?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Civil War Soldier Photo Is this the photo of a Civil War soldier actually a woman in disguise?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Satelloon Could this three-inch square of metallic material be part of America's first satellite program?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lindbergh Engine Could a 24-year-old have single-handedly built the engine for Lindbergh's plane?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.