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Solomon Northup

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Solomon Northup is a 3 time AALBC.com Bestselling Author

Solomon Northup (born 1807 or 1808 – died abt 1863), he was born free. In 1841, he was offered a traveling musician’s job and went to Washington, D.C. In D.C. he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. Northup was shipped to New Orleans, purchased by a planter, and held as a slave for 12 years in the Red River region of Louisiana, mostly in Avoyelles Parish. He remained enslaved until he met a Canadian working on his plantation who helped get word to New York, where state law provided aid to free New York citizens who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. His family and friends enlisted the aid of the Governor of New York, Washington Hunt, and Northup regained his freedom on January 3, 1853.

In his first year of freedom, Northup wrote and published a memoir, Twelve Years a Slave (1853). He lectured on behalf of the abolitionist movement, giving more than two dozen speeches throughout the Northeast about his experiences, to build momentum against slavery. He largely disappears from the historical record in 1857 (although a letter later reported him alive in early 1863). The details of his death have never been documented.

Northup’s memoir was adapted and produced as the 1984 PBS television movie Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, and the 2013 feature film 12 Years a Slave. The latter won an Academy Award in 2014 for Best Picture.

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Printed: October 24, 2017, 9:19 am
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