What journalist was fearless in his writings on abolition and slavery?

David Ruggles (1810–1849), journalist and abolitionist, knew at an early age that he would fight against the injustices of slavery. When Ruggles was seventeen, he moved to New York and became secretary of the New York Committee of Vigilance. He was a steadfast advocate for escaped slaves and would assist them in their struggle for freedom. The most famous fugitive who found refuge with Ruggles was Frederick (Bailey) Douglass. While in hiding at Ruggles’s home, Douglass married Anna Murray before continuing his escape. By this time, in 1838, Ruggles was already a notorious abolitionist. After an article he wrote in Colored American accused John Russell, a black lodge owner, of helping to kidnap blacks, the paper was sued for libel and Russell won. Samuel Cornish, the owner of the paper and a member of the Vigilance Committee, saw Ruggles’s behavior as objectionable. This along with other radical acts resulted in Ruggles having to resign from the committee in 1839. As a journalist Ruggles produced numerous pamphlets and articles about the condition and situations of blacks at that time. He strongly disagreed with the American Colonization Society, which advocated black relocation, and in response published his own pamphlet, “Extinguished,” in 1834. Ruggles continued to publish in abolitionist journals as his health deteriorated to the point that he was nearly blind. He was fearless in his confrontation with legal and political forces that supported slavery. Ruggles left New York for Massachusetts, in 1841, and later found some health improvement using water cures. By 1845 he had regained his health and continued to write about the abolitionist movement. He was considered a true warrior for the cause of abolition.


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