He established the abolitionist paper The North Star on December 3, 1847, in Rochester, NY, and developed it into the most influential black antislavery paper published during the antebellum era. It was used to not only denounce slavery but to fight for the emancipation of women and other oppressed groups.
The paper's motto was "Our Union Must Be Preserved". The North Star helped to organize local anti-slavery societies and produced several important books including Lysander Spooner's No Treason: Being a Complete Exposition of the Political Principles of 'Tom Paine'. The paper also printed speeches by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
After the war ended, Butler continued to publish The North Star until his death in 1870. The paper then was edited by Edward Mitchell and later by Myrtilla Miner Eells. In 1880, William Monroe Trotter took over as editor; he transformed The North Star into a socialist paper that supported African American rights and organized labor. The North Star ceased publication in 1938. However, an edition with part-time editors continues to be published today.
Butler founded The North Star with the goal of establishing an independent black community in northern Missouri. This idea grew out of discussions he had while working as an assistant editor at the New York Tribune. Like many other blacks at this time, he believed that slavery should be abolished through democratic means rather than through war.
The North Star (Rochester, New York), 1847-1851, Douglass On December 3, 1847, Douglass launched and edited The North Star, his first antislavery journal. Polaris, the brilliant star that helped direct individuals fleeing slavery to the North, was referenced in the title. Before this time, few newspapers published articles on a daily basis; most were weekly or monthly.
In addition to articles on politics and current events, The North Star published letters from readers. Many of these letters expressed gratitude for having been given freedom by their masters and pleaded with other slaves not to flee their owners. Others warned against abolitionism or urged compliance with slavery laws.
Douglass based the paper on the example set by his own life. He had been enslaved twice, first by Thomas Auld and then by John E. DuPond, and both times had been granted his freedom. With the help of friends and supporters, he had established another black-owned newspaper called The African American Journal in 1829 when he was only eighteen years old. This experience taught him what needed to be done to start a successful newspaper and he used those lessons when launching The North Star.
Besides writing editorials and publishing articles, The North Star also included illustrations. One illustration that appeared in every issue showed a young man lying on his back with his hands folded over his chest as if dead. Above him was printed "My name is Bill Bailey. I live at No.
Despite Douglass' efforts, the paper failed to make a profit. He supplemented his income by speaking and even mortgaged his home in 1848 to keep the publication afloat. By 1851, he had merged The North Star with the Liberty Party Paper, a newspaper founded by the abolitionist Gerrit Smith.
"Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and all we are Brethren," the North Star's slogan said. After reading The Liberator, a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass was inspired to start The North Star in 1846. The paper focused on abolitionism and civil rights for black Americans.
In addition to being printed on paper with colored edges, The North Star also included colored plates that could be used as stamps for its letters. These stamps were designed by Douglass and made possible by his successful campaign for copyright protection for artists' works. The first series included images of figures with moral messages: honesty, industry, love, etc. Others were abstract designs intended to "improve the mind through the eye." Although The North Star only ran for about three years, it played an important role in the fight for slavery's end. In fact, several former slaves can be found writing articles for the paper during this time.
The Liberator and The North Star were both published from Boston, Massachusetts. They often took strong positions on issues such as slavery and racial equality. This led many people to attack their offices with bombs and bullets. Both papers managed to survive these attacks without much damage. However, in 1849, after the murder of another editor of The North Star, Charles Langston, his wife Elizabeth wrote an article titled "Resignation of My Husband" which appeared in the next issue.
Douglass, Frederick Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874, are now available online. P. 1 of The North Star (Rochester, New York), December 3, 1847. Image includes announcement of a speech by Lewis Hayden at Pine Grove Church in Pennsylvania.
Frederick Douglass was an American abolitionist and writer who became one of the most prominent voices of the anti-slavery movement. Born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, on February 15, 1817, he was educated in the free schools of Baltimore before becoming a house servant. In 1838, he escaped to the North and settled with an aunt in Rochester, New York. There he began to write about his experiences as a slave and soon became one of the leading speakers against slavery. In 1847, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an assistant editor for the National Era. In 1848, he helped organize the first national antislavery organization, the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1849, he founded another newspaper, the Frederick Douglass Paper, which advocated for black civil rights. In 1854, after being attacked for speaking out against Abraham Lincoln's election as president, he moved back to Rochester. He died there on August 12, 1895.