David Ruggles Radical Abolitionist

As all of our class should know by now, David Ruggles was a black abolitionist who took slavery very seriously.  Ruggles pretty much made it his life to actively free black slaves.  Most abolitionists tried to persuade slave-owners to free their slaves for moral reasons, along with many other ways to try and free slaves. David Ruggles, however, didn’t use moral suasion, he used violence if needed, to free slaves, unlike pretty much every single other abolitionist of his time.

Ruggles saw slavery as a national problem, not just a southern issue.  Ruggles was a violent forceful advocate against slavery, and justified it with his “practical abolitionism” which meant that self-defense and civil disobedience could be used by freed blacks and runaway slaves to try and protect themselves from kidnappers.

The start of the Underground Railroad was pretty much because of David Ruggles. Not only did he mentor many more famous abolitionists, but he managed to start a network due to his location (in NYC) and active role on the Committee of Vigilance.  Once people started to discover and see David’s work, they became inspired and that is when he began to start networking with allies to help jump start the beginning of the Underground Railroad.  Although Ruggles’ was an important figure, he was often held back.  His store, which I will go into slight detail in the next paragraph, was burned down three times, and he was kidnapped at one point in his life and almost sold into slavery in the south.

David Ruggles was an African-American printer in the 1830’s and managed to print many black activist journals. Ruggles was the first African-American to run his own printing press, and his own magazine is recognized as the first to be published by a black American.  His bookshop was the first black bookstore until it was destroyed.  A popular plan was to send all blacks back to Africa, to which Ruggles rebelled saying that it did not help the future of slavery.

The active abolitionist, David Ruggles, was not only a powerful person, but also an advanced thinker.  He saw issues in problems such as sending all the slaves back to Africa, and fought to end slavery in ways that other active abolitionists didn’t see.  Ruggles wasn’t only an abolitionist, though. He also became a doctor in order to save his life and many other peoples lives’.


About 14ross

I am currently a studious senior in high school aiming to become a better english student through project based learning.
This entry was posted in American Studies, HOT Log Florence 1/20/14, Local History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to David Ruggles Radical Abolitionist

  1. 14ahw says:

    Great subject, David Ruggles is definitely someone we could all know more about in this class. How would David Ruggles actually help aid slaves on their paths on the underground rail-road, also, who are some of the other abolitionists whom he mentored? To help solidify this writing I would try to cut down on superfluous information and stay relative to the class.

  2. suffieldkid says:

    I really like how you compared Ruggles to other abolitionists and pointed out the differences in tactics. I know you said he would use violence, do you know what extent of violence that entailed? I think providing an example of his violence would have helped.

  3. 14bsd says:

    Great piece on David Ruggles here, very interesting information that you have included. Do you think that we as a class should continue to research this man further or do we know everything there is to know about him? Good job on taking an important topic that we have talked about in class.

  4. Jack Frank says:

    Great job, you presented another interesting perspective for David Ruggles. Do you think that we should further look into David Ruggles as an entrepreneur who became a well respected selftaught doctor? I think that this piece of writing would benefit greatly if you reconsider the order of the paragraphs. Perhaps you introduce David Ruggles further earlier in this story.

  5. 14dlw says:

    This was a well-written piece about Ruggles, Ross! Do you think that there are more interesting stuff we could look into as a class on Ruggles? An example of violence used by him would have improved your post. Good job!

  6. ahglennon says:

    Like many others in the class Ross, you did a good job of exposing more information on Ruggles. I am curious to what extent you say he used violence. I understand he was very “radical” however, how so violent? As far as your writing goes, it may just be a personal opinion, however this informative piece would be stronger without the use of phrases including, “Pretty much” and a bit more elaboration on how Ruggles used practical abolitionism? Over all great Job!

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