Shaun King Resurrects Frederick Douglass’ Anti-Slavery Newspaper

Frederick Douglass Shaun King

Getty/IG Shaun King Abolitionist, author, editor Frederick Douglass and activist and journalist Shaun King

Civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King is re-launching the anti-slavery newspaper created by abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1847.

The newspaper, The North Star, was named for Polaris “that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North.” King said he has both the “blessing & permission of the family of Frederick Douglass” for the relaunch.

The African American-owned newspaper founded by Douglass was created to further the abolitionist movement by providing information and to share black anti-slavery voices in addition to the white voices heard in publications like the abolitionist paper The Liberator.

The North Star was a four-page subscription weekly read by 4,000 in the United States, Europe, and the West Indies.

King said in posts on social media that Douglass and co-editor black physician and abolitionist Martin Delany, “Knew then, as we know now, that in order to fight back against injustice, their stories had to not only be well told — with the color & dimension & nuance that was frequently missing elsewhere, they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, and soul. We need that right now. This past week proved that to me. And we’re going to build it together.”

YouTubeShaun King

King said the launch cannot be accomplished without support.

“For the next 15 days, at BuildingTheNorthStar.com,   we are building our launch team and hope to have at least 100,000 of you join us from all over the world. We won’t be able to do it without you! Again, this team will only last for the next 15 days,” King wrote.

An ink-on-paper publication born 171 years ago, King is launching a North Star “news app, a full news website, a collection of podcasts, and an online nightly news broadcast.”

“We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world,” King wrote.

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LINK IN BIO! I told you yesterday I was making an announcement today! No, I’m not running for office! And no, we are not having another baby! ? What I’m about to do, and what I hope you will do with me, is a dream come true though. In 1847, with slavery still in full force, 2 brave men, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany (both pictured above in a graphic designed by @nikkolas_smith ), started an abolitionist newspaper called The North Star — named for the star, Polaris, that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North. Douglass and Delany knew then, as we know now, that in order to fight back against injustice, their stories had to not only be well told — with the color & dimension & nuance that was frequently missing elsewhere, they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, & soul. We need that right now. This past week proved that to me. And we’re going to build it together. 171 years after it first launched, with the blessing & permission of the family of Frederick Douglass, I am relaunching The North Star alongside my friend & brother, Ben Dixon. I’ve been saying all year that I was going to start a new media platform. This is it! For the next 15 days, at BuildingTheNorthStar.com — we are building our launch team & hope to have at least 100,000 of you join us from all over the world. We won’t be able to do it without you! Again, this team will only last for the next 15 days. While The North Star was originally a print newspaper, we will be launching a news app, a full news website, a collection of podcasts, & an online nightly news broadcast. We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world. Today, I have 3 requests for you. 1. Please join our launch team @ BuildingTheNorthStar.com. 2. I want you to find just 2 friends to join you on our team. 3. After you join our launch team, could you please post on social media something like the following statement…. 171 years ago The North Star was created by abolitionists to guide this nation toward freedom. Today I am joining the team to rebuild it @ BuildingTheNorthStar.com. Join it with me!

A post shared by Shaun King (@shaunking) on Nov 1, 2018 at 5:26am PDT

King asked readers and followers that wish to be involved visit the website, sign in using a first name and email address and the invite two friends to join as well. And, he’s asked people who join to share that message on social media.

American orator, editor, author, abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) edits a journal at his desk, late 1870s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“…could you please post on social media something like the following statement…. 171 years ago The North Star was created by abolitionists to guide this nation toward freedom. Today I am joining the team to rebuild it @ BuildingTheNorthStar.com. Join it with me!”

Once people sign up, an email follows with information and direction.

“Today we are asking you to help us build The North Star from scratch for those same reasons. We are, of course, inheriting an amazing legacy, but we have real work to do. On Thursday, November 15th we are launching a campaign for founding members to help us build The North Star from the ground up. You are now a part of that launch team to make sure that our founding membership campaign is a success,” the email reads.

“And we don’t just want you on that team as a founding member, it’s our hope that you can bring at least two more people with you. Our goal is to have 25,000 founding members by the end of 2018. But we can’t do it without you.”


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