|From the BPC Historical Collection
Solomon Northup, age 33, a well-educated black man who was born into freedom, resided with
his wife and three children, in New York. Solomon was kidnapped and sold into slavery in our
nation’s capital…Washington, D.C.
The perpetrators of this crime, in order to sell Solomon, insisted he was an escaped slave from
Georgia. Whenever Solomon protested and declared himself a free man, he was terribly beaten...
once near to death.
Solomon was sold and transported to Louisiana where he spent twelve long years of suffering,
degradation, whippings and hard labor as a slave. For fear of his life, he had to give up the idea of
convincing his masters and others that he was actually a free man and a citizen of New York and
he resigned himself to the accept the life of a slave. But, through his years of captivity, he never
once stopped believing that one day he would be freed and again become united with his family in
The enslavement of the black race was an everyday fact of life from the earliest settlement of
this country up to the end of the Civil War, which brought a close to this shameful period of our
history. In the 1840s there were many…very many white people who opposed this concept of
forced labor and the maltreatment of fellow human beings. The voices of these abolitionists were
becoming louder and louder not only in the north where slavery was practically non-existent, but
even in the heart of the south . One of these, Samuel Bass, a Canadian by birth, put his own life in
jeopardy to free Solomon.
This book, the narrative of a man who not only witnessed the cruelty of slavery, but actually lived
it and survived to be reunited with his family after suffering all those years, should be required
reading for every student in our educational system. It gives, in chilling detail, an account of a way
of life that hopefully will never, ever, occur again in this great country…the “Land of the Free”!
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