October 2, 2014
Solomon Northup’s 12 Years a Slave recounts the author’s life story as a free black man from the North who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. The son of an emancipated slave, Northup was born free. He lived, worked, and married in upstate New York, where his family resided. He was a multifaceted laborer and also an accomplished violin player. In 1841, two con men offered him lucrative work playing fiddle in a circus, so he traveled with them to Washington, D.C., where he was drugged, kidnapped, and subsequently sold as a slave into the Red River region of Louisiana. For the next twelve years he survived as the human property of several different slave masters.
The 2013 film adaptation starring Brad Pitt won “Best Picture of the Year” at the 2014 Academy Awards.
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