Brother Solomon

"Blow after blow was inflicted on my naked body. When his unrelenting arm grew tired he stopped and asked if I still insisted I was a free man. I did insist upon it, and then the blows were renewed, faster and more energetically, if possible, than before." Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup was born a free African American in Saratoga, New York. Northup was a farmer and musician and he is most known being kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery while being enticed for a job offer. 

"I can speak of slavery only so far as it came under my own observation only so far as I have known and experienced it in my own person. My object, is to give a candid and truthful statement of facts: to repeat the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving it for to others to determine, whether even the pages of fiction present a picture of more cruel wrong or severer bondage." Solomon Northup (p.18)

This is a passage Solomon Northup wrote in his narrative 12 Years A Slave.

Since there is a film about his life at the moment which has received critical acclaim I thought I would share more information about this man. I'm glad that his story is being brought to academics and the big screen. These are things I found about Solomon.

Prior to Enslavement: Solomon married Anne Hampton on Christmas Day in 1829, she was a woman of multi-racial descent. They had three children Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. Solomon and Anne established their own farm in 1832 in Kingsbury he was known as fiddler. Anne used her skills as a cook to help bring in a steady income.

Captivity & Enslavement: While Solomon was seeking employment as musician in March of 1841, Northup met two men who alleged that they were affiliated with a circus. His intentions were to accompany the men to New York and provide his fiddling skills, they convinced him to travel further South and they would arrive in Washington, D.C. he was drugged by the men, severely beaten, and sold into slavery. Solomon was sent to plantation owner Edwin Eppes, in 1853 residing in Bayou, Beouf. He endured barbaric treatment and witnessed sexual abuse from slave owners with Black women as their victims. He befriended a woman named Patsey and she was sexually abused by the plantation owner Edwin Eppes and also had to deal with hatred and possible violence from his wife.

Freedom: In 1853, Solomon became friends with a man named Samuel Bass, anti-slavery Canadian carpenter who visited the plantation. Samuel decided to contact some musicians back in Sara toga Springs, New York to verify that Solomon was a member of that community. Henry B. Northup, traveled South and facilitated Solomon's release and that same year he published his memoir.

Toni's Thoughts: I have not seen the film based on his life yet but I intend to soon. This is a very important piece of history that needs to be taught.


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