David Ruggles, the Owner of America’s First Black-Owned Bookstore

David Ruggles

During the early 1800s, the United States was still growing and the spread of businesses hadn't reached even a fraction of the scale it had today. This gave inventive people such as David Ruggles an opportunity to create a platform from the ground up. Even more significant is Ruggles' achievement considering he was an African-American man even while slavery was still infesting the country. 
David Ruggles was born in 1810 and very quickly stepped into the pool of abolitionists who fought against slavery. In fact, he did more than just join the fight. He broke a glass ceiling of his time that had not yet been broken. In 1834, Ruggles became the very first African-American to own his own bookstore.

He used this store as a place to share anti-slavery publications. In a promotion for his store, Ruggles even dubbed his business an Anti-Slavery Book Store. However, this bookstore didn't stay afloat long before a mob burned it down.

This did not kill Ruggles' spirit, though. He kept his chin up and continued writing articles for the abolitionist movement. He would later be appointed an agent for The Emancipator, an abolitionist newspaper, and published a journal titled, The Mirror of Liberty.