Founded in February of 1849 by Samuel Ringgold Ward, a fugitive slave and staunch abolitionist, the Impartial Citizen, was "designed to aid in the elevation of the Free Colored People, and to support and urge the doctrines of a Righteous Civil Government...." Ward, who knew and admired Frederick Douglass as a fellow fugitive from slavery, considered the Impartial Citizen as somewhat of an auxiliary to Douglass' North Star. In preparation for the Citizen's move from a semi-monthly to a weekly paper in June of 1849, Ward advised his readers that the newspaper must have a minimum of 1500 paid subscribers at one dollar a year, a figure that he soon found too low to support the paper adequately. The usual edition of the paper included exchanges, a few ads, some verse, organization reports, texts of addresses, editorials, and letters to the editor. Ward was among the leading advocates of emigration schemes to Canada and the West Indies, and co-founded, with Mary Ann Shadd, the Provincial Freeman in 1853, a paper devoted to promoting Canada as a refuge for American Blacks in the United States.
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