Frederick Douglass

Explore Slavery in America in the Frederick Douglass’ Paper

For those researching slavery or slave ancestors, the Frederick Douglass’ Paper in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers collection is a great resource. Many of the articles, including essays written by Douglass himself, are a fascinating look at the United States and the world as it dealt with the slave trade. Like most newspapers of this time period, it covered local, national and international events. Newspapers were carried across the country and very highly anticipated. Therefore, it was not uncommon to find news from around the country within their pages.

In this collection is the text of speeches made around the world expressing points of view about slavery in America. This particular issue highlights a lengthy speech (see Congressional Union in England, and American Slavery) regarding the fugitive slave law from the Rev. Joseph Fletcher, originally from the newspaper entitled the British Banner. He said that the fugitive slave law was “a law which no one who would obey God rather than man could consistently and righteously obey.

An article in the same issue entitled “An Interesting Incident” is about a fugitive slave. It tells of a female named Jane who, while traveling with her white slave owner family to Canada, took a ferry and freed herself while they were at the border. Upon landing in Canada, she went to a “respectable colored man’s” home and found safety from her owner. It did not take her owner long to find her and demand her return, which she refused. He threatened her to no avail, ultimately leaving after a jeering crowd had gathered. Jane, the former slave, became free.

This newspaper collection does not only contain anti-slavery information, but like other period newspapers of the time, information about happenings nationally and internationally. One such story in this issue concerned the imprisonment of Pietro Ercoli for 24 years for his attempt to prevent Luigi Giannini from lighting a cigar.

You never know what you may find in newspapers. This is one of the things that make them such a rich resource for genealogical research. In addition to information about your ancestors, they provide much in the way of interesting tidbits to add flesh to the bones of family history.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Frederick Douglass Paper
Date: June 26, 1851
Location: Rochester, New York

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

Related Posts

Tags: ,

Stay Connected

Connect with Accessible Archives on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to stay up to date on news and blog posts or get our latest blog posts by email.

Positive SSL