North Star (anti-slavery newspaper)
- For other newspapers named North Star, see North Star (disambiguation)#Newspapers
North Star was a nineteenth-century anti-slavery newspaper published in the United States by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The paper ran from December 1847 until June 1851 when it merged with Gerrit Smith's Liberty Party Paper (based in Syracuse, New York) to form Frederick Douglass' Paper.
In 1838, Frederick Douglass was first inspired to publish the North Star after subscribing to The Liberator, a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison. The Liberator was a newspaper established by Garrison and his supporters founded upon moral principles humanity.
The leading perspective of the Garrisonians focused on the Constitution as a pro-slavery document, the non-violent approach of emancipation of slaves by moral suasion, and the dissolution of the Union. Under the guidance of the abolitionist society, Douglass became well acquainted with the pursuit of the emancipation of slaves through a New England religious perspective.
Douglass’ thoughts toward political inaction changed when he attended the National Convention of Colored Citizens, an antislavery convention in Buffalo, New York, in August 1843. One of the many speakers present at the convention was Henry Highland Garnet. Formerly a slave in Maryland, Garnet was a Presbyterian minister who supported violent action against slaveholders. Garnet's demands of independent action addressed to the American slaves remained one of the leading issues of change for Douglass.
During a nineteen-month stay in Britain and Ireland, several of Douglass’ supporters bought his freedom and assisted with the purchase of a printing press. With this assistance Douglass was determined to begin an African-American newspaper that would engage the anti-slavery movement politically. On his return to the United States in March 1847, Douglass shared his ideas of the North Star with his mentors. Ignoring the advice of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass moved to Rochester, New York to publish the first edition. When questioned on his decision to create the North Star, Douglass is said to have responded,
"I still see before me a life of toil and trials..., but, justice must be done, the truth must be told...I will not be silent."
With this conflict of interests, Douglass was able to achieve an unconstrained independence to write freely on topics that covered his analysis of the Constitution as an antislavery document, his desires for political action necessary to bring emancipation, and the support of the women’s rights movement.
- David B. Chesebrough, Frederick Douglass; Oratory from Slavery, (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998), 16-18.
- William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991), 84-206.
- William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991), 15-16.
- William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991), 146-147.
- William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991), 76-77.
- Ira Berlin, "Who Freed the Slaves; Emancipation and Its Meaning", in Blight and Simpson ed. Union and Emancipation; Essays on Politics and Race in the Civil War Era (Kent, Kent State University Press, 1234), p121.
- "The North Star", The North Star: Online Collection, Lavery Library, St. John Fisher College.
- "Our Paper and Its Prospects", The North Star, December 3, 1847.