David Ruggles (American National Biography)

Scholarship
Graham Russell Hodges, "Ruggles, David," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00588.html.
In 1835 Ruggles founded and headed the New York Committee of Vigilance, which sought to shield the growing number of fugitive slaves from recapture and protect free blacks from kidnapping. Cooperating with white abolitionists Lewis Tappan and Isaac T. Hopper, Ruggles and other black leaders were daring conductors on the Underground Railroad and harbored nearly 1,000 blacks, including Frederick Douglass, before transferring them farther north to safety. A fearless activist, he raised funds for the committee, served writs against slave catchers, and directly confronted suspected kidnappers. In frequent columns for the Colored American, he exposed kidnapping incidents on railroads. In 1839 he published the Slaveholders Directory, which identified the names and addresses of politicians, lawyers, and police in New York City who "lend themselves to kidnapping." His bold efforts often led to his arrest and imprisonment, which contributed to his failing health and eyesight.
Between 1838 and 1841 Ruggles published five issues of the Mirror of Liberty, the first African-American magazine. Circulated widely throughout the East, Midwest, and the South, the magazine reported on the activities of the Committee of Vigilance, kidnappings and related court cases, antislavery speeches, and the activities of black organizations. Despite its irregular appearances, its publication was a significant achievement. In 1844 Ruggles attempted unsuccessfully to establish a second magazine, entitled the Genius of Freedom. In 1838 he attacked colonization once more in An Antidote for a Poisonous Combination.
How to Cite This Page: "David Ruggles (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/19403.