Asa Seymour Curtis House

2016 Elm Street, Stratford, CT 06615

Benjamin Douglas House

11 South Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457

Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church

160 Cross Street, Middletown, CT 06457

David Ruggles Gravesite

Yantic Cemetery, Lafayette and Williams Streets, Norwich, CT 06360
David Ruggles Gravesite
David Ruggles Gravesite
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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.

  • Graham Russell Gao Hodges, David Ruggles: A radical black abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
  • Richard Curland, “Norwich native an unsung hero in fight to end slavery in 1830s,” Norwich (CT) Bulletin, 25 November 2008, sec. B, p. 1
  • David Ruggles portrait, undated charcoal print, Negro Almanac Collection, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University
  • Gravesite photo courtesy of Dave Oat

Hours of Operation: Sunrise – Sunset
Parking Information: On site
Accessibility Information: Most of the cemetery is accessible by wheelchair.
  • Wheelchair Access

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