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A hardworking farmer and an exceptional fiddler, Solomon Northup is born a free man of colour. He lives happily with his wife and children in Saratoga County, New York, until the day an employment offer at a circus changes his life. Tricked, drugged and kidnapped, Northup gets sold as a slave. And for the twelve years that follow, he lives in bondage under different masters . . .
A heart-rending memoir chronicling his fight for survival and freedom, Northup’s Twelve Years A Slave is one of the best slave narratives ever written. It was adapted into a historical drama film of the same name in 2013, which went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Born as a free man of colour in Minerva, New York, in July 1808, Solomon Northup received a decent education and worked at the family farm. He held numerous jobs and charmed his audiences as a fiddler. In December 1829, he married Anne Hampton from whom he had three children. In 1841, Northup was tricked by two men who offered him a job and took him to Washington, D.C. where he was drugged and sold into slavery. He obtained freedom in January 1853, after being a slave for twelve years under several masters. The same year, he penned and published his memoir called Twelve Years a Slave. A slave narrative, it sold thirty thousand copies within three years of its publication, becoming a bestseller. And What Difference is There in the Colour of the Soul? Subsequently, Northup undertook lecture tours, speaking about slavery and became an active abolitionist. His last public appearance was in 1857, after which he disappeared. Though the details of his later life are not known, he is believed to have died in 1863.