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.”
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.
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.
“…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.”