Twelve Years a Slave (1853) is a memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York, details his kidnapping in Washington, D.C. and subsequent sale into slavery. After having been kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana by various masters, Northup was able to write to friends and family in New York, who were able to secure his release.
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This story of the abduction of a free Negro adult from the North and his enslavement in the South--provides a sensational element which cannot be matched in any of the dozens of narratives written by former slaves. 'Think of it: For thirty years a man, wit all man's hopes, fears and aspirations--with a wife and children to call him by the endearing names of husband and father--with a home, humble it may be, but still a home...then for twelve years a thing, a chattel personal, classed with mules and horses....Oh! it is horrible. It chills the blood to think that such are.'About the Author:
Solomon Northup (1808 - c. 1864-1875) was an African American carpenter who was born free in Minerva, Essex County, New York, but was bound into slavery later in life for a period of twelve years. He regained his freedom in January 1853.
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