Volume 19 • Issue 5 | June 16 - 22, 2006

The will to name Lispenard a new way

First, it was Frederick Douglass Landing and now it may be David Ruggles Way, which could become another name for Lispenard St. The co-naming of these streets is the brainchild of Jacob Morris.

“I’m very moved by bringing history to life and I want to honor New York City,” said Morris, the director of the Society for Equitable Excellence and a consultant to the New York Historical Society.

Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee endorsed Morris’s proposal to name the stretch of Lispenard St. between Church St. and Broadway be co-named David Ruggles Way at its June 1 meeting.

“He was America’s first black journalist,” Morris said of Ruggles. “He broke huge stories and got a lot of heat for it…it’s so long over due to honor him. He was a great New Yorker and a great American.”

Morris also explained how Ruggles was the founder of the Underground Railroad in New York City, and that he helped shape the minds of several prominent historical figures, such as Frederick Douglass.

Last year, Morris proposed to Community Board 1, that a section of Chambers St. between West St. and River Terrace be named Frederick Douglass Landing. Also, he is in the process of submitting another proposal to co-name a section of Duffield St. between Fulton and Myrtle Sts. Abolitionist Pl. after the several influential abolitionists who used to reside in that area.

—Janet Kwon


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