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David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City
     

David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City

by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
 

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David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroic—and has been one of the most often overlooked—figures 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

Overview

David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroic—and has been one of the most often overlooked—figures 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 groups—male and female, black and white, clerical and secular, elite and rank-and-file—recasting the history of antebellum abolitionism as a more integrated and cohesive movement than is often portrayed.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Thanks to the efforts of Hodges, David Ruggles will no longer remain a largely unknown abolitionist but rather will be seen as having played a significant role in the struggle against the slaveholding South and the segregated North.—American Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807872642
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
08/01/2012
Series:
The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Edition description:
1
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
988,084
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
A worthwhile and overdue biography, this is the only book-length work on one of the most influential black abolitionists of the antebellum period.—C. Peter Ripley, editor of The Black Abolitionist Papers

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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