Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana

Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana

Northup, Solomon; David Wilson

Miller, Orton, & Mulligan, 1854


Early edition of Northup's harrowing tale, first published in 1853.  Bound in publisher's brown cloth. Wear to cover. Head of spine chipped. Sold binding. xvi, [17]-336 pp. Frontispiece portrait, six plates. Spotting to title, frontis. Text is mostly clean (a few marginal spots to some of the end most pages) and in good condition.  Contemporary signature of Jonas Parker of Keene NH.  Refs: Sabin 55847; Blockson 10165 (First edition) 

First published in 1853, Twelve Years a Slave is the memoir and slave narrative of Solomon Northup, as told to and complied by David Wilson. Northup was a black man who was born free in New York. His narrative tells of his kidnapping and sale into slavery in the Deep South. He was in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before he was able to secretly get information to friends and family in New York, who in turn secured his release with the aid of the state. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation and slave treatment on major plantations in Louisiana. 

Northup's narrative confirmed Stowe's own fictional portray about slavery in Louisiana in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Northup's account describes the daily life of slaves at Bayou Boeuf in Louisiana, their diet and living conditions, the relationship between master and slave, and the means that slave catchers used to recapture runaways. In his narrative, Northup compared his life in slavery to his life as a free man in a free state. While there were hundreds of such kidnappings, he was among the few persons who gained freedom again. Northup's biography on his 12 year plight was the Best Picture Winner in the 2012 Academy Awards.

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Tags: African American History, American History, Slavery, Featured