North Star (newspaper)

North Star (newspaper)

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For other newspapers named North Star, see North Star (disambiguation)#Newspapers

The North Star was an anti-slavery newspaper. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...

 published the North Star until June 1851, when Douglass and Gerrit Smith
Gerrit Smith
Gerrit Smith was a leading United States social reformer, abolitionist, politician, and philanthropist...

 agreed to merge the North Star with the Liberty Party Paper (based out of Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...

) to form Frederick Douglass's Paper. In 1838, Frederick Douglass was first introduced to the ideology that would inspire the North Star after subscribing to The Liberator, a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

. The Liberator was a newspaper established by Garrison and his supporters based on core views of morality. 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, Frederick became well acquainted with the pursuit of the emancipation of slaves through a New England religious perspective.

Frederick Douglass’s thoughts toward political inaction changed when he attended the National Convention of Colored Citizens, an antislavery convention in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 in August 1843. One of the many speakers present at the convention was Henry Highland Garnet
Henry Highland Garnet
Henry Highland Garnet was an African American abolitionist and orator. An advocate of militant abolitionism, Garnet was a prominent member of the abolition movement that led against moral suasion toward more political action. Renowned for his skills as a public speaker, he urged blacks to take...

. Formerly a slave in Maryland, Garnet was a Presbyterian minister in support of violent action against slaveholders. Garnets demands of independent action addressed to the American slaves would remain one of the leading issues of change for Douglass.
During the two year stay in Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, several of Douglass’s supporters bought his freedom and assisted with the purchase of a printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

. With this assistance Douglass was determined to begin an African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 newspaper that would engage the anti-slavery movement politically. Upon his return to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in March 1847 Douglass shared his ideas of the North Star with his mentors. Ignoring the advice of the American Anti-Slavery Society
American Anti-Slavery Society
The American Anti-Slavery Society was an abolitionist society founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often spoke at its meetings. William Wells Brown was another freed slave who often spoke at meetings. By 1838, the society had...

, Douglass moved to Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

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.

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