Frederick Douglass knew the power of the written word: learning to read introduced him to concepts of freedom. After escaping enslavement, Douglass gathered a following for his work as an abolitionist public speaker – but then turned to journalism. He believed that whoever controlled the printing press held the power.
And he used that power to promote Black liberation far and wide …
On December 3rd, 1847, Douglass founded “The North Star,” an antislavery newspaper. Previous attempts to establish Black newspapers had failed – thwarted by anti-Black actions.
But Douglass was determined. “He who has endured the cruel pangs of Slavery is the man to advocate Liberty,” he wrote!
At its height it had over 4,000 subscribers and published in various forms for decades.
Today, the Library of Congress has over 575 issues of Douglass’s newspaper. It’s considered by historians to have done more to liberate enslaved Black people than any other platform Douglass held, combined!
Douglass knew the power of the written word. He understood the importance of Black people being in control of our narratives. Like Douglass, we must tell our own stories. Our truths hold power, and that power gives us the courage to get free!