"Hodges . . . skillfully weaves the life of abolitionist David Ruggles into the larger history of black abolitionists. . . . [He] convincingly argues that historians should reconfigure Ruggles from the margins to the center of abolitionist studies. . . . Highly recommended."
"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
"[Hodges] does a fine job detailing Ruggles' accomplishments and the fervor with which he pursued them. . . . Hodges has done the historical community a great service."
-Maryland Historical Magazine
"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."
"Using a wealth of published materials and archival sources, Hodges masterfully places Ruggles within the wider world of nineteenth-century reform. . . . Hodges is able to uncover a brand of reform activism in the radical abolition community of New York previously hidden even to seasoned scholars. This volume will go a long way towards opening eyes to the importance of men like Ruggles in the struggle to overcome slavery and racism in nineteenth-century America."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"Mention American abolitionists and David Ruggles rarely comes to mind. . . . Graham Russell Gao Hodges goes a long way toward rectifying that oversight."
-New York Times
"Few scholars have examined the relationship between the Underground Railroad, abolition networks, and the broader currents of political and social change. Graham Hodges in David Ruggles . . . dramatize[s] these relationships by recovering [a] forgotten, heroic African-American whose actions helped create fault lines in the spread of Southern slavery."
-The Wall Street Journal
"William Lloyd Garrison lauded [David Ruggles's] contributions to the abolitionist movement. 'He deserves to be ranked among the benefactors of his race,' Garrison wrote. 'His biography remains to be written.' . . . Dr. Hodges has now written the book Garrison called for more than 150 years ago."
-New York Times City Room Blog
From the Inside Flap
David Ruggles (1810-1849) was of 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, and publisher who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, the most famous of whom was Frederick Douglass. Hodges's portrait of 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.