The David Ruggles Center for History and Education

The David Ruggles Center for History and Education Along with the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee (http://bit.ly/2pUx1QL) we attempt to fight racism by honoring and documenting the lives of the trailblazers that came before us.

The David Ruggles Center for History and Education Several strands of history meet in the oldest section of Florence, Massachusetts down by the Mill River, on Nonotuck Street, Spring Street, Florence Road and Lower Meadow Street. Here the Northampton Association of Education and Industry was established in the 1840s by a group of radical abolitionists. David Ruggles--the country's first African American bookseller, founding secretary of New York City's Vigilance Committee, assistant to over 600 fugitive slaves including Frederick Douglass--joined them in 1842. Here he established one of the first hydropathic hospitals in the country in 1846 and lived his remaining three years in the village that would become Florence in 1852. We name our education center in his honor and dedicate it to remembering this "utopian" attempt at founding a society of equal rights and social justice. We explore the growth of the factory village they created which continued as a center of abolitionism through the Civil War. We trace its emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse whose institutions continued to reflect the progressive ideals of the founders.

Mission: The David Ruggles Center for History and Education honors the contributions made to the abolition of slavery by courageous individuals in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. Our location in the village of Florence within Northampton commemorates those who came here to challenge slavery, live in freedom, and establish a community based on principles of race, gender, class, and religious equality. We seek to educate and inspire our visitors to possibilities in the present by sharing these powerful voices from the past.

Of the ten formerly enslaved citizens who called on Northampton to resist the harsh Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, six resi...
07/13/2019

Of the ten formerly enslaved citizens who called on Northampton to resist the harsh Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, six resided in Florence: Basil Dorsey, Joseph Willson, William Wright, William C. Randall, Lewis French, and Henry Anthony. All but Lewis French's homes survive. We'll see each one on our tour of Underground Railroad sites in Florence, tomorrow, Sunday the 14th at 10 am leaving from the DRC at 225 Nonotuck Street. Free to the public.

David Rosenberger is next up as docent this Sunday. He is the librarian at the DRC and will be happy to show you our gro...
07/13/2019

David Rosenberger is next up as docent this Sunday. He is the librarian at the DRC and will be happy to show you our growing collection.

Join Docent-of-the-Day, our librarian David Rosenberger, who will be at the DRC from noon to four this Sunday, July 14.

Join us for a walking tour of Underground Railroad sites in Florence including homes of its formerly enslaved citizens a...
07/13/2019

Join us for a walking tour of Underground Railroad sites in Florence including homes of its formerly enslaved citizens and those the assistants who harbored and helped forward others along the UGRR. Steve Strimer will lead the tour, departing from the David Ruggles Center, 225 Nonotuck Street, at 10 am Sunday, July 14.

Join Docent-of-the-Day, our librarian David Rosenberger, who will be at the DRC from noon to four this Sunday, July 14.
07/06/2019

Join Docent-of-the-Day, our librarian David Rosenberger, who will be at the DRC from noon to four this Sunday, July 14.

Still a work in progress, People, Places, & Paper features the self-emancipated formerly enslaved citizens and their whi...
07/06/2019

Still a work in progress, People, Places, & Paper features the self-emancipated formerly enslaved citizens and their white allies who made Florence and Northampton home. We talk about the many sites that remain from this period of agitation and the primary source evidence of their struggles.

Coming up tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the beautiful grounds at Historic Northampton
07/05/2019

Coming up tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the beautiful grounds at Historic Northampton

Prudence Crandall's bravery in the face of the extreme prejudice her students faced, helped lead to the founding of the ...
06/27/2019
June 27: Prudence Crandall Arrested For Teaching “Little Misses of Color”

Prudence Crandall's bravery in the face of the extreme prejudice her students faced, helped lead to the founding of the Northampton Association of Education. Crandall allies Helen and George W. Benson, Dolly Stetson, their minister Samuel J. May, and William Lloyd Garrison himself had all been caught up in her case, and were central in the plans to found the Association. Later Charles C. Burleigh, editor of the Unionist newspaper set up to defend her, would become the leader of the radicals who stayed after the Community to found the village of Florence. Visit our friends in Canterbury this summer: The Prudence Crandall Museum

  In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened the Canterbury Female Boarding School in Canterbury, Connecticut, in order to provide an education to wealthy daughters of Eastern Connecticut families. Aft…

Indefatigable brochure committee working away on a rainy Sunday afternoon — Emikan Sudan, Lisa Baskin, Tom Goldscheider,...
05/12/2019

Indefatigable brochure committee working away on a rainy Sunday afternoon — Emikan Sudan, Lisa Baskin, Tom Goldscheider, and photographer Suzanne Love
in attendance.

Hard work pays off. Congratulations friends at North Country Underground Railroad Museum.
04/27/2019

Hard work pays off. Congratulations friends at North Country Underground Railroad Museum.

A lot of work is being done on the barn at the Stephen Keese Smith farm! This is Clinton County's best documented Underground Railroad site and the barn is now owned by Frank Perusse. Visit our website for more info: https://northcountryundergroundrailroad.com/clinton-county.php?page=1 #barn #clintoncountyny

The David Ruggles Center for History and Education's cover photo
04/16/2019

The David Ruggles Center for History and Education's cover photo

Today marks the 177th Anniversary of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry and the 11th of the David Rug...
04/09/2019
Home

Today marks the 177th Anniversary of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry and the 11th of the David Ruggles Center. Carry on. Join us for another year of walks, talks, exhibits, preservation, for social and economic justice. Check out our new website: https://davidrugglescenter.org/

Symposium Black Bibliographia, at University of Delaware. April 26 & 27, 2019. The question “What is a black book?” is i...
04/08/2019
2019 “Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art” - Center for Material Culture Studies

Symposium Black Bibliographia, at University of Delaware. April 26 & 27, 2019.
The question “What is a black book?” is implicit in the work of scholars and curators who examine histories of African American print production and reading. It is equally germane to artists and printers experimenting with the book and other print forms today. To address this question, “Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art” will host an exchange of ideas across longstanding divides of discipline and practice. The symposium invites participation from individuals invested in books and other print objects as material forms, aesthetic inventions, circulating texts, and repositories of design. In this way, “Black Bibliographia” aims to build on a growing body of work in African American print culture—already rich in nineteenth-century studies—while also inviting reassessment of the material life of black bookmaking and print production in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

“Black Bibliographia: Print/Culture/Art” April 26-27, 2019 University of Delaware A symposium hosted by the Center for Material Culture Studies in collaboration with UD Library, Museums & Press and the College of Arts & Sciences’… Read More

This afternoon 4:30. UMass English Department is pleased to announce that this year's Sidney Kaplan Memorial Lecture wil...
04/02/2019

This afternoon 4:30. UMass
English Department is pleased to announce that this year's Sidney Kaplan Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Professor Imani Perry of Princeton University, on Tuesday, April 2, at 4:30pm, in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall.
Professor Perry's talk is titled "Black Letters and the Law: Jurisprudence in the African American Literary Imagination."
Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University where she also holds affiliations with the programs in Law and Public Affairs, Jazz Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She the author of five single-authored books and numerous academic articles and literary essays. Her book, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, published in 2018 was named one of the notable books of 2018 by the New York Times, and won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. Perry holds a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University, as well as a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an L.L.M. from Georgetown Law Center in the history of Southern Property and Contract Law.
Additional support for this event has been provided by the Departments of Afro-American Studies, History, and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies; the UMass-Amherst Graduate School; the Commonwealth Honors College; the Social Thought and Political Economy Program; and the Smith College Africana Studies Department.

Sure wish we knew the why and when of Henson's visit to Florence.
03/19/2019

Sure wish we knew the why and when of Henson's visit to Florence.

“It is now certain, that the Rev. JOSIAH HENSON, of Dawn, Canada West, is the real Uncle Tom, the Christian hero, in Mrs. Stowe’s far-famed book of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’” -Martin Robison Delany in a letter to Frederick Douglass, April 15, 1853

Josiah Henson, who in addition to inspiring Uncle Tom's Cabin, established the Dawn Settlement in Dresden Ontario, established the British American Institute, led a Black Militia in The Rebellion of 1837 and helped free 118 enslaved people.

Inez Dorsey Frank of Niagara Falls NY was born in St. Catherines, Ontario Canada and is the great grand daughter of Josiah Henson. This is an article that appeared in the Niagara Gazette on August 6th, 1986 celebrating that ancestry.

Our Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Experience Center Specialist Saladin Quanaah Allah is the grandson of Inez Dorsey Frank and great-great-great grandson of Josiah Henson! Here he is in an image highlighted in our Freedom Gallery with his father Philip Frank, son of Inez Dorsey Frank, also of Niagara Falls, NY.

We understand if you are just too busy, but would you consider speaking on behalf of funding an African American, Abolit...
03/10/2019
Florence Historical Distict Application to CPC.pdf

We understand if you are just too busy, but would you consider speaking on behalf of funding an African American, Abolition and Equal Rights National Historic District in Florence with Context Statement before the Community Preservation Committee, on Wednesday, March 20, 7 pm in Northampton Council Chambers? Here's the link to the application for your review. https://bit.ly/2XJD0sh

The David Ruggles Center, with the support of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, has applied to the Community Prese...
02/27/2019

The David Ruggles Center, with the support of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, has applied to the Community Preservation Committee for funds to establish a National Historic District commemorating the African Americans and Abolitionists who made Florence their home in the 1840s and 1850s. Come express your support for the District at 7:00 p.m. on March 20 in Council Chambers during their Public Comment session.

From our sisters at Brook Farm! Might be great to form "The Women of the Northampton Association" its sister "utopian" c...
02/24/2019
The Women of Brook Farm Come to Roslindale

From our sisters at Brook Farm! Might be great to form "The Women of the Northampton Association" its sister "utopian" community out here in the wild West.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Rozzie Square Theatre 5 Basile Street, Roslindale (just off the square) The Women of Brook Farm are back and look forward to celebrating Women’s History M…

The site of David Ruggles home and bookstore at 36 Lispenard Street is stop #1. His home in Florence has been preserved ...
02/22/2019
15 Underground Railroad stops in New York City | 6sqft

The site of David Ruggles home and bookstore at 36 Lispenard Street is stop #1. His home in Florence has been preserved though moved from its original site. Join us for a walking tour tomorrow, February 23, 11 am from the DRC at 225 Nonotuck Street, as we celebrate Basil Dorsey Day.

Ahead, travel along the Underground Railroad with 15 known stops in New York City

We love maps at the DRC!
02/21/2019
Cartographic Records Relating to African American History

We love maps at the DRC!

February is African American History Month. All of our Special Media branches hold a variety of records relating to African American history. Today, we are featuring some related records from the C…

Gotta look into this, thanks to New Bedford folks for sharing.
02/17/2019
Freedom on the Move launches database of fugitives from American slavery

Gotta look into this, thanks to New Bedford folks for sharing.

Freedom on the Move (FOTM), an online project devoted to fugitives from slavery in North America, is enlisting the help of the public to create a database for tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African-Americans.

We really could use this here to add what we've learned to Ruggles, Truth, even Douglass and Garrison wiki pages. So gla...
02/13/2019

We really could use this here to add what we've learned to Ruggles, Truth, even Douglass and Garrison wiki pages. So glad to see this!

Join us this Sat 2/16, 12-5p for a #BlackHistoryMonth #Wikipedia editathon on #BlackNewYork history @schomburgcenter. Add the missing stories, get trained in @Wikipedia editing. Free. Open to all! Register RT: http://tinyurl.com/BlackNYCWiki #AfroCROWD @Wikimedianyc @wikimedia **📷: #schomburgcenter #BlackNewYork collection "#SmithsYardSale" #20000by2020 #l #BlackNewYork #blackhistory

Basil Dorsey arrived in Florence in 1844. His remarkable story, with David Ruggles as one of his assistants, stands out ...
02/11/2019

Basil Dorsey arrived in Florence in 1844. His remarkable story, with David Ruggles as one of his assistants, stands out among stories of the UGRR (https://freedomstoriespv.wordpress.com/basil-dorsey-escapes-from-liberty-maryland-plantation-to-settle-in-florence/). We will talk about these men and the African American community that grew around them that included Sojourner Truth representing 10 percent of the Florence population of the time. The two houses he lived in during his 28 years in Florence have survived and his house at 191 Nonotuck Street (at left) is on the National Register of Historic Places (https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/underground/ma9.html)

UMass Amherst AfroAm
02/04/2019

UMass Amherst AfroAm

#WEBDDAFRO events in February

Here`s to BAANHS for a great post.
02/03/2019

Here`s to BAANHS for a great post.

Anthony Burns was arrested in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Law in 1854. Abolitionists made multiple attempts to free Burns, however, they were unsuccessful. He was escorted by U.S. Marshalls to a ship which would take him back to his enslavers in Virginia. Abolitionists refused to give up and proceeded to raise money to purchase Anthony Burns’ freedom.

After receiving an anonymously donated scholarship, Burns began to study at Oberlin College in 1855. We recently found this photograph of him, taken of his college preparatory class. This is the first photograph we have found of Burns. He is the man farthest to the right in the back row.

#BlackHistoryMonth

Sojourner Truth featured today at the beginning of what figures to be a Black History Month like few others!https://g.co...
02/01/2019

Sojourner Truth featured today at the beginning of what figures to be a Black History Month like few others!

https://g.co/doodle/g25kk6

THIS was a long time coming. What a day for the country!
02/01/2019

THIS was a long time coming. What a day for the country!

#OnThisDate in 1865, the United States Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States. The amendment still required three-fourths of the states to ratify it before it could go into effect.

No doubt, the residents of the North Slope of Beacon Hill would have received the news with hope, joy, and anticipation of a brighter future for all Americans.

01/28/2019
Boston National Historical Park

They're back!

Hey friends, we're back! At this time we are attempting to re-open as many of the sites of the National Parks of Boston as possible. Please refer to our Today in the Park page at https://www.nps.gov/features/bost/tap/ for updated information concerning site openings and programs. Thank you for bearing with us during this challenging time. We're glad to be back serving you!
#BunkerHillMonument

Tomorrow, on MLK Day, we'll remember David Ruggles, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all dead at the young age of ...
01/20/2019

Tomorrow, on MLK Day, we'll remember David Ruggles, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all dead at the young age of 39, but each having helped change the course of American history toward equality and justice.

Had a good time showing Nancy Cohen, a dogged, talented interviewer, around some of the highlights of the African Americ...
01/18/2019
On MLK Day, Remembering The 1800s Abolitionist Community In Florence, Mass.

Had a good time showing Nancy Cohen, a dogged, talented interviewer, around some of the highlights of the African American Heritage Trail. We'll see how we do battling the wind from Winter Storm Harper for the annual MLK day Walking Tour (https://sojournertruthmemorial.org/walking-tour-map/). The David Ruggles Center will be a ready warm refuge.

January 21 marks the day Americans celebrate the birth of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

We were one of the requests, and the folks at Chatham-Kent Black Historical were quick to respond and share what they ha...
01/08/2019

We were one of the requests, and the folks at Chatham-Kent Black Historical were quick to respond and share what they had on the former Florence families, the Coopers and Willsons, who fled the U.S. after the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Hoping to visit this summer.

The Grow Food Northampton Farm sits on the land of the Agricultural Department of the Northampton Association of Educati...
12/15/2018
Modern Agriculture

The Grow Food Northampton Farm sits on the land of the Agricultural Department of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. We hope to explore what grew on the Association farm, how did they process their harvests, whether they truck farmed to Northampton. This season the Ruggles Center will grow sugar beets and flax, central to the Anti-slavery and Cooperative efforts that sought promote.

How much does the perception of farm life differ from reality?

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225 Nonotuck St
Florence, MA
01062

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