12 Years A Slave: Narrative by Solomon Northup

Topics: Slavery, History of slavery, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 2 (636 words) Published: November 19, 2013
Born a free man, twelve years of Solomon Northup’s life was spent as a slave. The story unfolds as he shares his fear, frustration, and most likely, heartache, of being separated from his life and his loved ones. On several different occasions, he was made to recount the events, and the story remained the same each time; there are legal documents in the appendix.

Although, this publication was not the first story of slave life, it is the first coming from a person who was born free then kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The story is important and primarily told so that there would be an additional piece of writing documenting the life of a slave, first hand. Northup describes in great detail different situations that slaves had to endure, including the effects of families being separated, floggings, and other criminal behaviors done against them for being thought of as subhuman, piece of property.

Solomon Northup was born free in Saratoga, NY, then kidnapped and sold into slavery by two white men. With the promise of employment with a circus, the men persuaded Northup to travel with them to Washington DC. This husband and father did not inform his family of his plans because he thought he would be working for a short time and able to return home before being sorely missed. However, once he and his companions arrived in DC, he was drugged and he awakened he was in chains, facing a life of slavery.

He was sold into the Price, Burch, and Company Firm, where he ended up in the slave trade of New Orleans, Louisiana, being moved later to Alexandria, an area near the Red River.

Northup ends his travels in Avoyelles Parish, where he spends 12 years of his life, until, with the help of a friendly, northern carpenter, he is rescued and brought back to his wife and three children.

Northup worked on a few different plantations and gives great detail about his work in cotton fields, sugar cane fields, carpentry, and playing his...
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