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Mirror of Liberty Founded 1839

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The first magazine-type publication edited and owned by Blacks and aimed at Black readers, the Mirror of Liberty was published sporadically in New York City by David Ruggles from 1838 to 1840. Modeled after the Freedom's Journal, the paper pledged to avoid in its pages "the greedy appetite of scandal and abuse," while "fearlessly attack[ing] vice and immorality, in high places and in low places." Ruggles, the son of free Blacks, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, but lived for most of his life in New York City, where he ran a Temperance Society grocery, a printing business, a reading room, and a bookstore. He actively assisted fugitive slaves and stopped more than once the kidnapping of free Blacks into slavery. Ruggles helped organize the New York Committee of Vigilance, which assisted more than 600 fugitive slaves; and his newspaper functioned as the Committee's official organ. It championed, among other issues, trials by jury for those Blacks accused of being runaway slaves. Ruggles' ill health ended the Mirror's publication in 1840, but he continued his work in numerous contributions to anti-slavery journals and newspapers until his death in 1849.

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