David Ruggles was born free on March 15, 1810 in Lyme, Connecticut and became one of the most influential and controversial black abolitionists in the United States. He moved to New York in 1827 and almost immediately became involved in the abolitionist movement. He owned and operated the first black bookstore in the nation and sheltered fugitives in his home. In 1835, he and several like-minded black abolitionists formed the New York Committee of Vigilance. He wrote hundreds of articles, letters and pamphlets on issues facing New York’s black community and events in the abolitionist movement. He resigned from the Committee of Vigilance in 1839 following a dispute and moved to Northampton, Massachusetts in 1841.