Lessons From the Memoirs of Solomon Northrup Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Film -- "12 Years a Slave"

Years a Slave is the true account of Solomon Northrup's life. A free African-American living in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children, Solomon was kidnapped and sold into slavery as an escaped slave named Platt. Though Solomon tried to gain his freedom, he was thwarted and cruelly treated by members of America's slavery system. He also saw horrible cruelty inflicted on other African-American slaves and their various adjustments to it. Through the efforts of Solomon and abolitionists, he was finally freed and was compelled to write of his experience and become an abolitionist. The movie is often disturbing but its truthfulness about an actual person's experiences makes it worthwhile.


Mr. Solomon Northrup's Life


In 1841, Solomon Northrup is a free African-American living in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife, Anne Hampton, and his two children, Alonzo and Margaret. Solomon, Anne and their two children have a happy life in Upstate New York. Solomon is a gifted violinist and makes his living playing the violin at various functions in and around Saratoga Springs. Anne is a cook and sometime in 1841, she tells Solomon that she is going to a new job as a cook and taking the two children to stay with her. Solomon watches them leave in the morning, and then meets two men named Brown and Hamilton that afternoon through a mutual friend. Brown and Hamilton offer Solomon a lucrative job playing the violin for two weeks in Washington, DC and promise that he will be back in Saratoga Springs before his wife and children return. Solomon travels to Washington, DC with Brown and Hamilton, who give him drugged wine at dinner and take him back to his room, apologizing to other people for his drunkenness along the way.

ii. Enslavement Solomon wakes up from his drugged state chained to the floor of a slave pen. Brown and Hamilton have sold Solomon to James Burch. Solomon argues that he is a free man but has no papers proving it, is told he is an escaped slave and is beaten. Solomon is taken to New Orleans along with other captured black men, a black woman named Eliza and her two children, on a riverboat. While on the riverboat, Solomon meets an apparently educated black man named Clemens who warns Solomon that he should hide his literacy and be quiet in order to survive. Solomon also meets another black man named Robert who tries to get the other blacks to take over the ship and escape. While they are kept in the…

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