Imagine yourself having a drink with friends in a public tavern. The next thing you know you’re chained to a floor awaiting transport to an undisclosed location. Is this the Middle East? No. This was the United States in 1841.
Solomon Northup was a freely born African American traveling in New York when he was abducted and sold into slavery. Solomon spent twelve years on the plantations of southern Louisiana. Twelve Years a Slave documents daily life in the pre-Civil War South – the endless labor, whippings, sexual abuse, and dreams of freedom. Northup’s account is factual yet far less well known than Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fictional Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Solomon Northup’s writing style is flowery and melodramatic as were most books in the 19th Century.
Twelve Years a Slave is due to be released as a major motion picture starring Chiewetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender on October 18, 2013. Let’s hope that Solomon’s story is no longer a forgotten one!