Did You Know 12 Years A Slave Has Capital Region Origins?
Are you familiar with the name Solomon Northrup? If you saw the 2013 movie ‘12 Years A Slave’, then you’ve heard his story!
According to Brittannica, Solomon Northup was a free Black man, who was born in the 1800s in Minerva, New York. As an adult, he moved to Saratoga Springs and became an accomplished farmer and a renowned musician.
Mr. Northup was able to travel around the region playing his violin. One day he was approached by two white men with an offer to travel to New York City and Washington DC to play his violin. Even though it meant that the travel would require Northrup to be away from his family, he made the decision to go along with the men.
That decision changed his life forever!
The two men, Alexander Merrill and Joseph Russell took Mr. Northrop to Washington DC where they drugged him and sold him into slavery. He was sent away to Louisiana where he would remain in bondage for 12 years until he was rescued by Henry B Northrup.
Before his rescue, Solomon Northrup had spent 12 years in an environment that was totally foreign to him. It took him many years to adopt a disposition of subservience.
After his rescue, Solomon Northrup returned to Saratoga where he wrote his memoir entitled ‘12 Years A Slave’. His accomplishments did not go unacknowledged in the Capital Region. In 2002, the third Saturday of July was designated as Solomon Northup Day.
If you were wondering what happened to the two men who sold Mr. Solomon into slavery, they were arrested and charged with kidnapping, but they never spent one day in jail!