Twelve Years a Slave is a rare read. Due to the nature of slavery, it was few and far between a chattel that could write. Evidence was corroborated and the narrative has become an enduring classic, a rivulet of emotions. For some gratitude – others bitterness.
The narrative was used as a testament and lorded for its role in abolishing slavery in the United States.
Many of the statements contained in the following pages are corroborated by abundant evidence – That he has adhered strictly to the truth, the editor, at least, who has had an opportunity of detecting any contradiction or discrepancy in his statements, is well satisfied.
Whitehall, N.Y, May, 1853
First published in 1853, Twelve years a slave is the account of a man, Solomon Northrup stripped from everything. Born a freeman, Solomon lived a modest life in America until he was kidnapped, sold in to slavery.
It comes as little surprise that the slave industry would stop so low. For twelve years he lost his children, his name and his wife. Resigned from hope, he worked the plantations, and switched from master to master.
As a memoir it’s one of those reads that makes you appreciate the simplicity of modern life, or the façade of oppression. Vivid as it is raw, Twelve Years a Slave is not an easy read. I didn’t doubt it would be, and its title promises everything read will be.
Its language is far from harsh, but the violence it contains is confronting.