May 23, 2022

Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874: Now Online via Chronicling America

From The Library of Congress:

The striking, forward-thinking motto, “Right Is of No Sex–Truth Is of No Color–God Is the Father of Us All, and All We Are Brethren,” initially appeared on December 3, 1847 in the first issue of The North Star, the earliest newspaper African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass founded and edited. That issue is one of 568 now digitized and freely available in Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874 on the Library of Congress website.

Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave, in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland in February 1818. He escaped slavery in 1838 and went on to become one of the most significant orators, authors and journalists of the 19th century. While his best known writings are his three autobiographies, his newspaper articles and editorial choices showcase his brilliance and the evolution of his thinking over time.

Douglass believed in the importance of the black press and in his leadership role within it, despite the struggles of earlier black newspaper enterprises. That first issue of The North Star emphasized his belief in “Our Paper and Its Prospects”. Douglass’ newspapers also stressed black self-improvement and responsibility.

One stated objective of The North Star, was to “promote the moral and intellectual improvement of the colored people.


The issues in this new online presentation are scanned from the Library’s original paper and microfilm collections covering three weekly newspaper titles:

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.