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Book Title: Twelve Years a Slave|
The author of the book: Solomon Northup
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Reader ratings: 7.9
Edition: HarperPerennial Classics
Date of issue: October 22nd 2013
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.77 MB
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First published in 1853, Twelve Years a Slave is the narrative of Solomon Northup’s experience as a free man sold into slavery. Northup’s memoir reveals unimaginable details about the slave markets, the horrors of life on a plantation, and the dreadful day-to-day treatment of the slaves from the perspective of a man who lived more than thirty years as a free man before being forcibly enslaved.
Written in the year after Northup was freed and published in the wake of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s story was quickly taken up by abolitionist groups and news organizations as part of the fight against slavery. The book fell into obscurity in later decades, only to be rediscovered in the early 1960’s. In 2013 it was adapted into a feature film entitled 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and produced by Brad Pitt. Pitt also played a supporting role in the film, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti and Sarah Paulson.
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Read information about the authorSolomon Northup was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. He is noted for having been kidnapped in 1841 when enticed with a job offer. When he accompanied his supposed employers to Washington, DC, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. From Washington, DC, he was transported to New Orleans where he was sold to a plantation owner from Rapides Parish, Louisiana. After 12 years in bondage, he regained his freedom in January 1853; he was one of very few to do so in such cases. Held in the Red River region of Louisiana by several different owners, he got news to his family, who contacted friends and enlisted the New York governor in his cause. New York state had passed a law in 1840 to recover African-American residents who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Northup sued the slave traders in Washington, DC, but lost in the local court. District of Columbia law prohibited him as a black man from testifying against whites and, without his testimony, the men went free. Returning to his family in New York, Northup became active in abolitionism. He published an account of his experiences in Twelve Years a Slave (1853) in his first year of freedom. Northup gave dozens of lectures throughout the Northeast on his experiences as a slave, in order to support the abolitionist cause.
In the early 1860s, Northup, along with another black man, aided a Methodist minister in Vermont in helping fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. The circumstances of Northup's death are uncertain.
Solomon Northup's memoir was reprinted several times later in the 19th century. An annotated version was published in 1968, edited by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon. The memoir was adapted and produced as a film in 2013 by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup. Previously, a TV movie had been made of Northup's story, Solomon Northup's Odyssey (1984), directed by Gordon Parks. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove wrote her poem "The Abduction" about Solomon Northup (published in her first collection, "The Yellow House on the Corner", 1980.)
Since 1999, Saratoga Springs, New York, has celebrated an annual Solomon Northup Day.
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