12 Years a Slave - 43076

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12 Years a Slave

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12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Minerva, New York, in 1808. Little is known about his mother, whom his narrative does not identify by name. His father, Mintus, was originally enslaved to the Northup family from Rhode Island, but he was freed after the family moved to New York. As a young man, Northup helped his father with farming chores and worked as a raftsman on the waterways of upstate New York. He married Anne Hampton, a woman of mixed (black, white, and Native American) ancestry, on Christmas Day, 1829. They had three children together. During the 1830s, Northup became locally renowned as an excellent fiddle-player. In 1841, two men offered Northup generous wages to join a traveling musical show, but soon after he accepted, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. He was subsequently sold at auction in New Orleans. Northup served a number of masters—some brutally cruel and others whose humanity he praised. After years of bondage, he came into contact with an outspoken abolitionist from Canada, who sent letters to notify Northup\'s family of his whereabouts. An official state agent was sent to Louisiana to reclaim Northup, and he was successful through a number of coincidences. After he was freed, Northup filed kidnapping charges against the men who had defrauded him, but the lengthy trial that followed was ultimately dropped because of leg