Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave


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The basis of the 2013 Academy Award–winning film 12 Years a Slave, this is the autobiography of Solomon Northup—an African American man born free in New York state who is tricked, kidnapped, taken to Washington, DC, and sold into slavery.

Originally published eight years before the Civil War and similar in many ways to Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, this groundbreaking work gave Americans from the north razor-sharp, firsthand insight into the tragedies that were occurring in the South. Still today, Northup’s story is widely studied and reprinted, giving its readers a glimpse into a painful part of our country’s past.