Among the many things Frederick Douglass accomplished in his lifetime, he was an accomplished journalist with his own publication, The North Star, which he published out of the Talman Building on East Main Street in Rochester, NY. While there were plenty of people who supported his work and subscribed to his paper, there were even more who opposed his abolitionist values and fiery way of attacking his pro-slavery contemporaries. The New York Herald in Manhattan, after seeing the early publications of the paper, called for people to “rally and dump his presses into the Genesee” in protest of The North Star and its message. Therefore, the site I’ve chosen is the Genesee River, specifically the section of the river near the Talman building on East Main Street.
The North Star was a publication dedicated to abolitionist causes and was proudly an anti-slavery news source from the very first publication. Due to its content and subject matter, one cannot be surprised that The North Star had its enemies, but despite protests of anti-abolition and anti-racial equality papers and individuals, Douglass’s paper grew to be one of most influential African American anti-slavery publications of the pre-Civil War era United States. From the title of the paper, a reference to the North Star that guided slaves to freedom, to the motto, which spoke of both racial and gender equality, to its contents, Douglass made sure that his paper was one of equality and gave voice to the abolitionists, who were often silenced during this era. Douglass claimed that those who were suffering this violence, the African Americans, needed their own platform to be heard, so instead of working for The Liberator, an abolitionist paper run by William Lloyd Garrison, a white man, or another similar publication, he made his own.
This entry is part of a public history project developed by the RIT Museum Studies program in celebration of the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth (February 1818). The current photo of the river was taken by the Democrat and Chronicle and the historical photo is the property of Library of Congress. See http://bit.ly/2BhKLwz and http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ny/ny1500/ny1560/photos/117418pv.jpg. Research was conducted for the background information. See https://rocwiki.org/Frederick_Douglass & https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-North-Star-American-newspaper.