Thursday, February 16, 2017

February Classic of the Month: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

In honor of Black History Month, Cosimo is proud to present Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup as our February Classic of the Month.

This riveting and harrowing memoir, originally published in 1853, was a best-seller and groundbreaking work during its time. In 1841, free-born African American Solomon Northup was offered a job within his hometown of Saratoga Springs, only to find that it was a trap---leading to him being beaten, drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery by his employers. He eventually ended up on a Louisiana plantation owned by Edwin Epps, where he became friends with Canadian carpenter Edward Bass, who was doing work for the plantation owner at the time. Bass secretly contacted Northup's family, who informed New York governor Washington Hunt of his kidnapping. The state was able to use a law passed in 1840, to rescue Northup, that allowed the recovery of free black men who were sold into slavery. Solomon was finally made free again on January 4, 1853.

In 2013 Twelve Years a Slave, a movie based on an adaptation of this autobiography was produced and directed by Steve McQueen: it ended up winning three 2014 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress.

This incredible journey is a must-read for all, but may be of particular interest to historians, librarians, or anyone interested in African American History.

About the Author:
Solomon Northup (1808-c. 1875) was a free African American from New York who was deceived, drugged, and sold into slavery in Washington, D.C. in 1841. He was transported to New Orleans and sold to a plantation owner in Louisiana. For several years, he was passed around between slave owners before winding up with plantation owner Edwin Epps. There he met Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass, who helped him regain his freedom in 1853. Solomon spent the rest of his life as an abolitionist. He also assisted with the Underground Railroad in the early 1860s.

Cosimo is thrilled to offer Twelve Years a Slave in hardcoverpaperback, and eBook formats at leading online bookstores including Barnes & Noble (paperbackhardcover, and Nook) and Amazon (paperbackhardcover, and Kindle).

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