The North Star, Volume 1, Number 22

About the Project

Frederick Douglass was born in 1808 as Frederick August Washington Bailey, the son of an enslaved woman and possibly her white enslaver in Maryland. Douglass emancipated himself at the age of 20. Over the course of his life, he shared his experiences of enslavement in three autobiographies. Douglass was a leader of the abolition movement, fighting against slavery through speeches and writings. He passed away in 1874 at his home in Washington D.C.

The North Star, later called Frederick Douglass' Paper, was an antislavery newspaper published by Frederick Douglass. First published on December 3, 1847, using funds Douglass earned during a speaking tour in Great Britain and Ireland, The North Star soon developed into one of the most influential African American antislavery publications of the pre-Civil War era. The name of the newspaper paid homage to the fact that escaping slaves used the North Star in the night sky to guide them to freedom. The paper was published in Rochester, New York, a city known for its opposition to slavery. The motto of the newspaper was, "Right is of no sex--Truth is of no color--God is the Father of us all, and we are brethren." Published weekly, The North Star was four pages long and sold by subscription at a cost of $2.00 per year to more than 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe, and the West Indies. The first of its four pages focused on current events having to do with abolitionist issues; pages two and three included editorials, letters from readers, articles, poetry, and book reviews; the fourth page was devoted to advertisements. In the paper, Douglass wrote with great feeling about what he saw as the huge gap between what Americans claimed to be their Christian beliefs and the prejudice and discrimination he witnessed.

This issue, published May 26, 1848, contains several anti-slavery essays, the speech of Lucretia Mott at the American Anti-Slavery Society, notices of anti-slavery activities around the region, and general advertisements.

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Difficulty

(2 out of 5)
(details)

Level 1 --- BEGINNER

Content: all typed
Language: English
Format: letters, diaries, flyers, pamphlets, and one-page documents
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 2

Content: mostly typed, handwritten in print, or otherwise very clearly written/readable
Language: English
Format: memorabilia, advertisements, image captions, telegrams, diaries, letters, notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 3 --- INTERMEDIATE

Content: typed and handwritten materials in cursive or print
Language: English
Format: newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, letters/diaries/notes that may include annotations or margin notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: experience reading cursive writing may be useful

Level 4

Content: handwritten materials, primarily in cursive or somewhat difficult to read (predominantly from the 19th and 20th centuries) , audio recordings that are relatively easy to hear/decipher, and scientific materials
Language: English and/or other languages that use Roman script but may require the use of diacritics (French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.)
Format: audio recordings, letters, diaries, notes and other written materials, projects with templated fields and special instructions
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: some knowledge of non-English Roman-character/script languages and diacritics may be useful, as well as experience reading cursive handwriting. A general knowledge or familiarity with scientific terminology.

Level 5 --- ADVANCED

Content: handwritten materials in cursive (from the 19th century or earlier) or in a non-Roman script language, audio recordings that are difficult to hear or are not in English, specialty materials/projects such as numismatics projects and the Project Phaedra notebooks 
Language: foreign languages that use non-Roman characters (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Greek/Cyrillic, Native American and Indigenous languages, etc.) and English 
Format: audio recordings, columned data/tables, manuscripts, letters, diaries, notes, currency sheets, coins
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: knowledge of a specific language and access to a keyboard with the characters in that language may be required for certain projects. Experience reading cursive handwriting and familiarity with 19th century (or prior) handwriting and conventions/abbreviations may be useful, as well as knowledge of scientific terminology, astrophysics data, or linguistics.

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