North Star

Block #5: North Star

Sponsored by: Evans Title, LLC

Located at the Williston Grist Mill, a private residence, viewable from Rt. 16.
8074 Harmony Rd., Denton, MD 21629
Painted by Habitat For Humanity


This block was unfortunately lost to a fire at the Grist Mill.

The Story

Frederick Douglass was a social reformer. He was born into slavery in Tuckahoe on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1817. He spent most of his childhood in Baltimore but escaped to freedom in the North in 1836. He used his oratorical skills to lecture against slavery, speaking in the northern states and Europe.  Douglas was not officially free however, until supporters in Britain and Ireland, bought his freedom in 1845. They also helped him with the purchase of a printing press. Douglass was determined to begin an African-American newspaper that would politically engage the anti-slavery movement. When he returned to the United States, Douglass published the first edition of The North Star on December 3, 1847 in Rochester, NY, named for the guiding light in the night’s sky that lead freedom seekers to a new life.

The North Star became the most influential black antislavery paper published in the years leading up to the Civil War. The paper was circulated to more than 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe, and the West Indies. The abolitionist paper not only denounced slavery, but also advocated for the emancipation of women and other oppressed groups. Its motto was: “Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.”

North Star at the Williston Grist Mill