Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man

Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man

4.8 11
by Judith Bloom Fradin, Dennis Brindell Fradin
     
 

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The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
 
Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and

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Overview

The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
 
Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained to the floor. He managed to slip his hand into his pocket to look for his free papers that proved he was one of 400,000 free blacks in a nation where 2.5 million other African Americans were slaves. They were gone.
 
This remarkable story follows Northup through his 12 years of bondage as a man kidnapped into slavery, enduring the hardships of slave life in Louisiana. But the tale also has a remarkable ending. Northup is rescued from his master's cotton plantation in the deep South by friends in New York. This is a compelling tale that looks into a little known slice of history, sure to rivet young readers and adults alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Named one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013 by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council!
Kirkus Reviews
Most readers know something about the Underground Railroad, when African Americans went from slavery to freedom, but this volume presents the opposite scenario: the enslavement of thousands of free Northern blacks. Solomon Northup was one of 400,000 free blacks living in the United States in 1841. He was living in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with his wife and three children, when two white men offered him good money to play violin for the circus they represented. Solomon jumped at the chance and soon found himself captured, beaten and transported to Louisiana, where he suffered a 12-year odyssey as a slave. Brevity, the focus on one man's story and a lively prose style make this an unusually affecting and important narrative. All of the dialogue and many of the details come from Northup's own memoir, Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853. Photographs, maps and reproductions of a bill of sale and various newspaper images complement the text. Unfortunately, sources are not always provided, as for a Frederick Douglass quotation on the final page, and the meager bibliography offers no sources for young readers, a shame since so many fine sources exist. An excellent and important introduction to a man who went from freedom to slavery and back again. (afterword, time line, online resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426318351
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
01/28/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
151,432
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
10 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of an April night in 1841 with his body trembling, his head throbbing, and a terrifying question in his mind: Where was he? He slowly realized that he was in a dark, dank, foul-smelling dungeon in Washington, D.C. Worse yet, he was in handcuffs and his feet were chained to the floor.
 
As his head cleared, Solomon managed to slip a hand into his trousers pocket, where he had placed his money and his “free papers” for safekeeping. They were gone! He checked his other pockets and found no trace of the money or the papers that proved he was one of 400,000 “free blacks” in a nation where 2.5 million African Americans were slaves.
 
“There must have been some mistake,” Solomon told him- self. Any second now the two white men he had been traveling with would arrive to free him. But as the night wore on, he began to wonder whether these seemingly friendly men could have betrayed him.
 
The rising sun revealed that Solomon was in a cell with only one small window covered by thick iron bars. Soon he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. A key turned in a lock, the heavy iron door swung open, and two men entered the room where Solomon was chained.
 
“Well, my boy, how do you feel now?” asked one of the men, who Solomon later learned was named James Birch.
 
Solomon, who was 32 years old, wasn’t accustomed to being called “boy,” which was a demeaning way of addressing male slaves regardless of age. “What is the cause of my imprisonment?” Solomon demanded.
 
“I have bought you, and you are my slave.”

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From the Publisher
Named one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013 by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council!

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