12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup


In 1808, Solomon Northup was born a free man of color.  He grew into a man, owned a home, farmed and played violin.  He was married and had three children and did well for himself and his family.  In 1841, at the age of 33, Solomon was lured into a false job to play violin, he was then drugged and kidnapped, shipped to New Orleans and sold as a slave.  For twelve years Solomon was held and sold from one slave owner to the next.  His attempts at escaping were fruitless, if he tried to explain that he was a free man, he was beaten either for his lies, or for the fear the white owners had of what he said was true.  During this time Solomon had no way of getting word to his family, not knowing if they were dead or alive or what they thought had become of him.

In the twelve years of captivity, Solomon learned what it was like to be slave.  During his time of captivity he was able to see the darkest souls of man, but also see kindness in others.  Upon his release, Solomon wrote this recap of his time as a slave.  It was 1853.

12 Years A Slave was a powerful listen.  Narrated by Louis Gossett, in a smooth tone that made you feel that he really was Solomon Northup, retelling his days and months and years with all of his rights as a free man stripped from him. 

What makes this book all the more breathtaking is that it is non fiction.  Solomon shares with his readers the good, the bad, and the extreme ugliness of man during this time period.  I found my heart heavy as I can not wrap my mind around what it had to have been like for Solomon during this time of loss of family, and loss of hope of ever seeing them again.

12 Years A Slave is a remarkable story.  I am looking forward to seeing the movie. 

24 thoughts on “12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

  1. I know it’s an amazing story and true but I know I won’t be able to see the movie…it’s just too sad! Good for you though that you can do it…I really admire that!

  2. Sheila – you may also like to find out what the rest of his life was like. Taken: How Friendship Saved a Man From Slavery by John Radanovich. Very good reads indeed.

  3. I haven’t seen this one, but am sure to once it’s on DVD or TV. The thing that immediately caught me was that Louis Gossett narrated. I LOVE the way he reads! I have “The Word of Promise” both the Old and New Testaments. He plays John and he is my absolute favorite actor of the entire production. Absolutely fantastic 🙂

  4. It’s on my wishlist, audio sounds like the way to go and I really want to see the movie too even though I’ve been told it’s difficult to watch.

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