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Cover for Twelve Years a Slave
Isbn: 978-87-2660-905-9
Publisher: Saga Egmont
Memoirs & Biography History Social and cultural history
Accessible since: March 2024


Twelve Years a Slave

Filmatized in 2013 and the official recipient of three Oscars, Solomon Northup's powerful slave narrative 'Twelve Years a Slave' depicts Nortup's life as he is sold into slavery after having spent 32 years of his life living as a free man in New York.

Working as a travelling musician, Northup goes to Washington D.C, where he is kidnapped, sent to New Orleans, and sold to a planter to suffer the relentless and brutal life of a slave.

After a dozen years, Northup escapes to return to his family and pulls no punches, as he describes his fate and that of so many other black people at the time.

It is a harrowing but vitally important book, even today. For further reading on this subject, try 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Solomon Northup (c.1807-c.1875) was an American abolitionist and writer, best remembered for his powerful race memoir 'Twelve Years a Slave'.

At the age of 32, when he was a married farmer, father-of-three, violinist and free-born man, he was kidnapped in Washington D.C and shipped to New Orleans, sold to a planter and enslaved for a dozen years.

When he gained his freedom, he wrote his famous memoir and spent some years lecturing across the US,on behalf of the abolitionist movement.

'Twelve Years a Slave' was published a year after 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe and built on the anti-slavery momentum it had developed.

Northup's final years are something of a mystery, though it is thought that he struggled to cope with family life after being freed.

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