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David Ruggles, Black Abolitionist Rescued Frederick Douglas

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The Gist of Freedom

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Black Abolitionist David Ruggles helped a runaway slave from Maryland survive to become Frederick Douglas, the most respected African-American of the 19th century.
Learn More Tuesday April 3rd with The Gist of Freedomhost Professor Dr. 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) ~ 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 Douglas. 

Ruggles home, 36 Lispenard St., will be included The New York "Freedom Trail" the house where David Ruggles, a leading abolitionist, sheltered hundreds of runaway slaves as a stop on the Underground Railroad. 

Similar to the one in Boston that focuses on the Revolutionary War.TriBeCa was basically New York City's Harlem before the Civil War," Morris said. "Downtown Manhattan was honeycombed with Underground Railroad locations, and there were residences and businesses of abolitionists.