Twelve Years A Slave
Twelve Year A Slave is a narrative and memoir by Solomon Northrup. The work was published in 1853 as a slave narrative autobiography depicting the life Solomon endured after being kidnapped and sold into slavery. Northrup’s work has lived on vivaciously for many years, and was even made into a film adaptation which received powerful reviews by many.
The narrative was edited by renowned scholar and editor at the time, David Wilson. It is important to note that Wilson himself as a white man with a well-respected demeanor, and he put his career and respectability on the line in the preface of the work, stating that Northrup spoke the very words which would be read following from his very mouth, and to state that anything Northrup said is a lie would be akin to claiming Wilson a liar as well. Wilson gives introductory notes in which he affirms that the following work is truth and accurate. Both Northrup and Wilson put their integrity on the line for the publication of this work, and it is important to understand that.
As a summary, the memoir depicts Northrup in his hometown of Saratoga, in New York, as a free Negro. Solomon was skilled in different trades, most prominently carpentry and violin. He is approached by two promoters of a circus in which they offer him a position working for them which they ensure will be of high value and money. Northrup is tricked into accompanying the men and becomes enslaved, waking up in a cell inside of a slave pen. Despite multiple assertions of his rights, he cannot persuade the slavers and he becomes beaten, traveling to New Orleans.
Despite writing to his family, Northrup did not find rescue or solace. He endured the next twelve years as a slave, working for different slave owners. It is important to note that the first of his slave owners was the most humane, as he was often subdued by extreme cruelty. In his final years as a slave, Solomon met an abolitionist from Cana named Samuel Bass, who was the only person Northrup speaks his true story to after the first incident of asserting his rights. Bass assists Solomon by sending letters to his family, and because of this, he was freed. After legality struggles, Solomon’s attorney and friend Henry Northrup aided and fought for his freedom.
The work by Northrup is a pivotal and powerful story on the history and inhumanity of slavery. The memoir itself is a prominent and often spoken about piece of slave narrative, which even over a century old holds wounds. Northrup and Wilson bring poignant remarks and lessons in this piece of work, but primarily show the importance and vivacity of human’s inherent dignity.
Twelve Years A Slave
Twelve Years a Slave is a slave narrative told by a black man named Solomon Northup. He details his life as a slave although he was born a free man. He was a slave and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. His written journal detailed what he learned about slave markets that existed in parts of the United States. He also provided details about sugar and cotton cultivation with big plantations throughout Louisiana. Northup's journey has influenced a number of book publications and movie films to help provide further insight on what happen during this time period.
Northup's work was later published upon other works created by different authors that help provide more validity to what Solomon mentioned in his narrative. During the mid-1950s his book sold thousands of copies making it a bestseller. At one point the book fell out of circulation for roughly a century until it was rediscovered by Louisianan historians. They reviewed the book, researched it and retraced various elements to learn more about Northup and his slave involvement. The historians helped edited another version of the book that was published in the late 1960s.
More people in today's society are familiar with a 2013 movie that attempts to provide visual meaning of the events tied to the book. The movie was critically acclaimed even though there is some level of controversy and lack of clarity. While the book took on a life of its own, many people feel what the book has brought to life is more valuable. You have a person that was sold into slavery and went through various trials and tribulations that shared what they been through on many levels. Some people were introduced to another side of slavery they may not have had any idea that existed.
Northup described various details about his daily living and how the act of slavery was a business. His perception of how things were is one of the factors that catch readers' attention. He often compared things he knew against what he saw unfolding in front of him. He talked about how people were kidnapped into slavery while few others saw freedom from it. More research is being done to learn more about Northup and his journey. His insight has provided considerable value toward the understanding of how slavery was carried out in certain areas of the U.S.