readers of the new school: 12 years a slave

November 12, 2013

There has been a lot of talk surrounding 12 Years a Slave recently and after seeing the movie and reading the story of Solomon Northup, a free man savagely kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, I completely understand why; it is a vivid firsthand account of his life as a slave and his quest to be reunited with the family that he was so unjustly taken away from. Solomon Northup’s account of slavery is unique in that he is able to tell two very distinctive tales, one of the hardships and brutality that he experienced as a slave, as well as one of the joy and fruitfulness that he shared with his family as a freeman. As a reader this contrast truly allowed me to understand the adversities that our ancestors faced through a different lens, one not commonly discussed in history books or in many other accounts of slavery, but a very real and eye-opening one nonetheless.

By Damola Durosomo, AFROPUNK Contributor

12 Years a Slave is a poignant memoire filled with gloom and intense sorrow but ultimately filled with courage and hope. Throughout the story you are given a look into Solomon Northup’s life as a slave, from the time he is tricked, kidnapped and sold into slavery to his life in Louisiana where he worked on a plantation picking cotton and playing his violin under the ownership of an extremely abusive and detestable slave owner. You are also introduced to other memorable people that Solomon Northup meets during this time, the most affecting being Patsey, a young girl cursed by her master’s favoritism, desperately longing to be freed from his abuse even if it means dying. Solomon’s account of what happened to Patsey allows the reader to deeply understand the demoralizing and perverse relationship that existed at the time between the slave owner and the black female slave. Her story is the most vital in fully understanding the merciless and inhumane treatment that Northup and countless other slaves endured.
This books it an absolute must-read; it’s a harrowing yet remarkable tale of survival that all Americans should be aware of. I believe that a book like this is the type of material that should be read in schools across the nation. It is truly deserving of all the acclaim that it has been receiving, and I’m glad that such a profound story of the African American experience during times of slavery is gaining such recognition!

Please go see the movie if you haven’t already, it’s one of the few movies that’s actually worth paying $11 to see! Be sure to get yourself a copy of the book as well! I got mine for free; yes FREE on iBooks .You can also get a hard copy of the book HERE! This book is definitely worth your time, I promise that you will be deeply captivated and moved by this amazing story of faith and survival!