Solomon Northup’s harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged, and sold into slavery.
Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana's isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.
The film adaptation of Twelve Years a Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, and Michael Fassbender won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Solomon Northup (1808 - c. 1864-1875) was an African American carpenter who was born free in Minerva, Essex County, New York, but was bound into slavery later in life for a period of 12 years. He regained his freedom in January of 1853.