Black Abolitionist David Ruggles helped a runaway slave from Maryland survive to become Frederick Douglass, the most respected African-American of the 19th century. David Ruggles opened the first black-owned bookstore in America, although it was burned too. He was an editor and printer and started a reading room and a circulating library. He published the first magazine by an African American in this country. All amazing accomplishments! But wait, there's more! David helped found the New York Committee of Vigilance (A cross between The Black Panthers and N.A.A.C.P), a group dedicated to preventing blacks from being sold into the South. David wrote fiery pamphlets, daringly publishing the bounty hunters' names. He helped hundreds of fugitive slaves, traveled extensively as an anti-slavery agent, and became one of the chief conductors of the Underground Railroad. He helped a runaway slave from Maryland survive to become Frederick Douglass, the most respected African-American of the 19th century. Although repeatedly jailed and, like Rosa Parks, abused for trying to retain his seat on public transportation, David wasn't assassinated. He died at 39 years old from several chronic conditions. David probably never imagined a world where a person of color could become President of the United States - or maybe he did, and that vision sustained him. Learn More Tuesday April 3rd with The Gist of Freedom host Professor Weldon McWilliams and Professor Graham Russell Hodges, author~ David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City (John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture) ~ Did you notice that the old 4-story red brick building at 36 Lispenard Street (SE corner of Church) where the Le Colombe coffee house is found, is the former location of the David Ruggles House, an old Underground Railroad site?
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