Honoring Fredrick Douglass and Martin Delany On The North Star’s Founders' Day

On Dec. 3, 1847, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany launched The North Star in Rochester, New York. The abolitionist newspaper became the most influential anti-slavery newspaper of the 19th century.

Douglass and Delany believed in the Black free press. The abolitionists came up with the name of the newspaper after the star Polaris, which guided those who were escaping slavery and heading North, according to the Library of Congress.

Not only was the publication focused on anti-slavery, but it also pushed women’s rights and articles to empower the Black community. The newspaper’s motto: "RIGHT IS OF NO SEX--TRUTH IS OF NO COLOR--GOD IS THE FATHER OF US ALL, AND ALL WE ARE BRETHREN."

The newspaper, which ran from 1847 to 1851, published over 565 issues, according to the Library of Congress. In its first issue, Douglass emphasized the importance of the newspaper in an article titled “Our Paper and Its Prospects.”

“It has long been our anxious wish to see, in this slave-holding, slave-trading, and negro-hating land, a printing-press and paper, permanently established, under the complete control and direction of the immediate victims of slavery and oppression…that the man who has suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress,—that the man STRUCK is the man to CRY OUT—and that he who has endured the cruel pangs of Slavery is the man to advocate Liberty,” Douglass wrote, according to the Library of Congress.

The newspaper circulated in the U.S., West Indies and Europe, generating more than 4,000 readers, according to PBS. After publishing for four years under The North Star name, the newspaper merged with the Liberty Party Paper in Syracuse, New York, and became Fredrick Douglass’ Paper.

The team at The North Star is honored and proud to continue to provide liberation journalism through a network of Black and Latinx journalists, speaking truth to power without fear.