BirthdayDecember 0, 1808
BirthplaceMinerva, USA

Celebrity biographies

  1. About Solomon Northup

    Full name: Solomon Northup
    Also known as: Solomon Northup, Northup, Solomon
    Professions: American abolitionist and slave

  2. Solomon Northup Known for

    Twelve Years a Slave

  3. Solomon Northup Death information

    Died: Thursday, 1st of January, 1857 (Age: 49)

  4. Solomon Northup Biography

    Solomon Northup (July 1808–1863?) was an American and the primary author of the memoir Twelve Years a Slave. A free-born African American from New York, he was the son of a freed slave and a free woman of color. A farmer and violinist, Northup owned land in Hebron, New York. In 1841 he was kidnapped by slave traders, having been enticed to Washington, D.C. (where slavery was legal) with a job offer as a violinist with traveling entertainers. Shortly after he and his employers arrived in DC, they sold him as a slave, apparently having drugged him into unconsciousness to effect the kidnapping. He was shipped to New Orleans where he was sold to a planter in Louisiana. He was held in the Red River region of Louisiana by several different owners for 12 years, mostly in Avoyelles Parish. Aside from a brief communication when he was first kidnapped, his family and friends had no knowledge of him. He attempted to get word to them and to regain his freedom, but the systems guarding slaves were too pervasive to allow it. Eventually, he confided in a Canadian working on his plantation, who opposed slavery and was willing to risk contacting Northup's family and friends. They enlisted the help of the Governor of New York, Washington Hunt, to his cause, since state law provided for aid to free New York citizens kidnapped into slavery. Northup regained his freedom on January 3, 1853 and returned to his family in New York.Northup had the slave trader in Washington, DC (James H. Birch) arrested and tried, but he was acquitted because District of Columbia law prohibited him as a black man from testifying against white people. Later, in New York State, Northup's northern kidnappers were located and charged, but the case was tied up in court for two years due to jurisdictional challenges and finally dropped by the State of New York when DC was found to have jurisdiction. Washington DC did not pursue the case. Those who had kidnapped and enslaved Northup received no punishment.In his first year of freedom, Northup wrote and published a memoir, Twelve Years a Slave (1853). He lectured on behalf of the abolitionist movement, giving more than two dozen speeches throughout the Northeast about his experiences, to build momentum against slavery. He disappeared in 1857 (although a letter later reported him alive in early 1863); some commentators thought he had been kidnapped again, but historians believe it unlikely, as he would have been considered too old to bring a good price. The details of his death have never been documented.Northup's memoir was adapted and produced as the 1984 PBS television movie Solomon Northup's Odyssey, and the 2013 feature film 12 Years a Slave. The latter won an Academy Award in 2014 for Best Picture.

  5. Solomon Northup Family

  6. Sources