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David Ruggles Gravesite

David Ruggles Gravesite

David Ruggles (1810-1849), born in Norwich to free black parents, moved to New York City after his education and became an ardent abolitionist. Among his accomplishments, there are many firsts. He operated the first black press in the nation and used it to advocate for the antislavery cause. The first periodical to be published by an African American, Mirror of Liberty, was published by Ruggles. The activist was also a journalist for the Freedom Reporter, recognized as the country’s first black newspaper. In addition to his many firsts in the literary world, Ruggles was also an Underground Railroad conductor, Frederick Douglass being one of his early “passengers.” Perhaps one of his most important actions against slavery was the establishment of the New York Committee of Vigilance, which fought against the kidnapping or re-capture of free blacks and former slaves. Unfortunately, Ruggles’ extreme dedication to the fight for freedom and equality took a toll on his health. By age 29, he suffered from stomach problems and was nearly blind. He passed away ten years later in Florence, MA and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Ruggles Family plot at Yantic Cemetery in Norwich.


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