What to Know
- The North Star was started in 1847 by Frederick Douglas and Martin Delany
- Activist Shaun King is restarting the paper with the permission of Douglas' family
- It will be relaunched online with an app, a website, a nightly news broadast and podcasts
Activist and writer Shaun King announced Thursday that he is bringing back Frederick Douglass' 19th-century abolitionist newspaper — with the blessing of Douglass' family.
The North Star, started by Douglass and Martin Delany in 1847, will be resurrected online, with a news app, a website, podcasts, and a nightly news broadcast, King wrote in a Medium blog post. He added that he received the "blessing and permission of the family of Frederick Douglass."
"We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world," King said.
King and friend Ben Dixon are first building a launch team at BuildingTheNorthStar.com and hope to have 100,000 people on board by Nov. 15. The team then plans to start a public membership drive with the goal of having 25,000 members by the end of 2018.
The North Star became "one of the most influential African American anti-slavery publications of the pre-Civil War era," according to Britannica. The paper was named for the star that escaping slaves used at night as a guide to freedom. Its motto read: “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color—God is the Father of us all, and we are brethren.”
In his blog post, King honored the way Douglass and Delany utilized The North Star, writing, "they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, and soul."
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"We need that right now," King wrote. "This past week proved that to me. And we’re going to build it together."
King is a civil rights activist known for his work on social media. Earlier this year, he founded the Real Justice PAC, which aims to help fill district attorney positions with "reform-minded prosecutors" who are "committed to using the powers of their office to fight structural racism and defend our communities from abuse by state power."