Twelve Years a Slave

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Engage Books, Dec 3, 2019 - African Americans - 200 pages

Solomon Northup was born a free man in New York State. At the age of 33 he was kidnapped in Washington d.c. and placed in an underground slave pen. Northup was transported by ship to New Orleans where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next 12 years working as a carpenter, driver, and cotton picker. This narrative reveals how Northup survived the harsh conditions of slavery, including smallpox, lashings, and an attempted hanging.

Solomon Northup was among a select few who were freed from slavery. His account describes the daily life of slaves in Louisiana, their diet and living conditions, the relationship between master and slave, and how slave catchers used to recapture runaways. Northup's first person account published in 1853, was a dramatic story in the national debate over slavery that took place in the nine years leading up to the start of the American Civil War.

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About the author (2019)

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Saratogo Springs, New York in 1808. His father, Mintus, had been a slave in his early life in service to the Northup family. When Mintus' master, Captain Henry Northup freed him in 1797, Mintus took the surname Northup as his own. Mintus was successful as a free man, meeting New York State's property requirements for black male voters, and was one of the few African-American's eligible to vote. Also, his children received a level of education that was considered high for blacks at that time. On Christmas Day of 1829, Solomon married Anne Hampton. Solomon held many jobs to provide for his wife and three children. He owned a farm, played the violin in upscale hotels, and worked as a carpenter. In 1841, Solomon met two men who offered him employment as a fiddler for several performances in New York City. Solomon was then persuaded to travel to Washington d.c., where slavery was legal. When they arrived, Solomon was drugged, beaten, and placed on a ship to New Orleans where he was sold to William Ford. Solomon worked for two other owners, before he was sold to Edwin Epps. Here, Solomon toiled for ten years on a cotton plantation under the cruelty of Epps' whip.

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