Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup

American abolitionist and slave
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Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup (July 1808–1863?) was an American abolitionist and the primary author of the memoir Twelve Years a Slave. A free-born African American from New York, he was the son of a freed slave and free woman of color. A farmer and professional violinist, Northup had been a landowner in Hebron, New York. In 1841, he was offered a traveling musician's job and went to Washington, D.C. (where slavery was legal); there he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold as a slave. He was shipped to New Orleans, purchased by a planter, and held as a slave for 12 years in the Red River region of Louisiana, mostly in Avoyelles Parish. He remained in slavery until he met a Canadian working on his plantation who helped get word to New York, where state law provided aid to free New York citizens kidnapped into slavery. Family and friends enlisted the aid of the Governor of New York, Washington Hunt, and Northup regained his freedom on January 3, 1853.

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Date of birth
1 July 1808
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Place of birth
Minerva, Essex County, New York
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Occupation
raftsman, fiddler, labourer, carpenter
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