Hodges has diligently mined the primary sources to bring David Ruggles into the light. The result is this fine book. . . . One wonders why it has taken so long for historians to give Ruggles his due. Thankfully Hodges has done so. . . . This is a benchmark biography.Left History
David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York Cityby Graham Russell Gao Hodges
David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroicand has been one of the most often overlookedfigures of the early abolitionist movement in America. Graham Russell Gao Hodges provides the first biography of this African American activist, writer, publisher, and hydrotherapist who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, the most
David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroicand has been one of the most often overlookedfigures of the early abolitionist movement in America. Graham Russell Gao Hodges provides the first biography of this African American activist, writer, publisher, and hydrotherapist who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, the most famous of whom was Frederick Douglass. A forceful, courageous voice for black freedom, Ruggles mentored Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and William Cooper Nell in the skills of antislavery activism. As a founder of the New York Committee of Vigilance, he advocated a "practical abolitionism" that included civil disobedience and self-defense in order to preserve the rights of self-emancipated enslaved people and to protect free blacks from kidnappers who would sell them into slavery in the South.
Hodges's narrative places Ruggles in the fractious politics and society of New York, where he moved among the highest ranks of state leaders and spoke up for common black New Yorkers. His work on the Committee of Vigilance inspired many upstate New York and New England whites, who allied with him to form a network that became the Underground Railroad.
Hodges's portrait of David Ruggles establishes the abolitionist as an essential link between disparate groupsmale and female, black and white, clerical and secular, elite and rank-and-filerecasting the history of antebellum abolitionism as a more integrated and cohesive movement than is often portrayed.
- The University of North Carolina Press
- Publication date:
- The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
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Meet the Author
Graham Russell Gao Hodges is George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History and Africana and Latin American Studies at Colgate University. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863.
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