Living Up to David Ruggles
by Caroline Edens Bundy
A reflection upon: "Courage"
Media Studies Journal Spring/Summer 2000, Volume 14 No.2 which featured stories about courageous writers past and present.
Who has heard of David Ruggles? My school did not teach me about this person. I wonder why not? The article named David Ruggles as being the first black working journalist. He was born a free black American in Connecticut. He published, operated, and owned the first African American Press.
The information he provided through his publications influenced public opinion, including the southern female population, on why slavery was uncivil and inhumane. Mr. Ruggles showed strength and courage in his struggle to obtain equality, and to end slavery. During a time when only elite, white males, enjoyed freedom, he placed himself in great danger to print the truth, and bring hope for change.
If not for the courageous writers, printers, and publishers of the past, it is very likely that today's society would strive on corruption, racism and ignorance. These types of articles, along with current newspaper editorials and other publications, are important teaching resources for middle and high school students. Regardless of the "headline journalist," or the media propaganda, the truth printed is the only hope for progress and continued freedom. In order for students to become informed citizens, educators must encourage free thinking and intelligent opinions by their students.
Unfortunately, the educational system still lacks a broad, diverse, Social Studies curriculum. Students and educators must realize that it is through the struggles of people such as David Ruggles, that we obtained our freedoms. If educators fail to gain student interest in history, and current public affairs, then society will regress, and we will lose our liberties. This is the reason I decided to teach school. If the educational system does not realize the need for teachers in this area, then I will become a journalist, such as David Ruggles.
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