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Twelve Years a Slave

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Source: Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northrup (Auburn, N.Y., 1854)
The purpose of Solomon Northup’s book was to share his detailed account of his experiences of his enslavement to rescue from 1841 to 1853, Twelve Years. Solomon Northup was born a free man in 1808 to an emancipated slave named Mintus Northup, who was originally enslaved to the Northup family in Rhode Island. Solomon grew up working on a farm alongside his father had many valuable skills. He was a farmer, carpenter and raftsman who could read, write and play the fiddle/violin. He married a cook of mixed race, Ann Hampton when he was 21 and fathered three children. He described the beauty of the free life he lives and how much he enjoys spending time with his family and earning a living through his many trades. In 1841, he and his family were living in Saratoga Springs New York where he was approached by two men who offered him generous wages as a Violin player in the circus, Solomon didn’t object and left with them immediately thinking he would be back very soon before anyone could miss him. Before leaving New York for the circus show, they insisted he gathered his free papers then travel with them to Washington D.C where those two men gained his trust, took him to a bar to have a few drinks and then drugged his drink which left him staggering, barely coherent, and violently ill. He awoke the next day, shackled in pitch darkness in a slave pen robbed of his free papers. “Alone, in utter darkness, and in chains” “I was able to ascertain - I had not only been robbed of liberty, but my money and free papers were also gone!” (p38) “A slave pen within the very shadow of the capitol.” (p43)
Solomon soon discovered that he, along with several others, was sold to a Slave Trader by the name of James H Burch. Solomon protested his bondage insisting he was a free man and in return, he…...

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