OTD in 1853, after having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regains his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave later becomes a national bestseller. The shocking first-hand account of one man’s remarkable fight for freedom. `Why had I not died in my young years – before God had given me children to love & live for? What unhappiness & suffering & sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman’s chain was round me, & could not be shaken off.’ 1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped & sold into slavery.

12 years a slave

Taken from his family in New York State – with no hope of ever seeing them again – and forced to work on the cotton plantations in the Deep South, he spends the next twelve years in captivity until his eventual escape in 1853. First published in 1853, this extraordinary true story proved to be a powerful voice in the debate over slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. It is a true-life testament of one man’s courage and conviction in the face of unfathomable injustice and brutality: its influence on the course of American history cannot be overstated.

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