Solomon Northup Tweet
"I personally want to thank the authors for...working
so hard to set as much of the record straight as can
be set straight." - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Excerpted from Dr. Gates' article, '12 Years a Slave': Trek From Slave to Screen
This new book, Solomon Northup: The Complete
Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave,
is a full biography of Solomon Northup. It is not
just a rehashed or annotated edition of Northup's
autobiography (which is the case for the other
available books about Northup). It includes
much information about Northup's early life in
New York State, what he did after his release
from slavery, and his family members.
Read endorsements by advance reviewers (After page opens, scroll
down to "What People Are Saying," and click "Read More.")
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Kindle version Nook version
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- - -
Who was Solomon Northup?
Solomon Northup was a free black living in upstate New York, who was lured to the south and sold as a slave. After nearly 12 years, he was rescued, and returned to his family. His book, Twelve Years a Slave, described his experiences.
The book can still be purchased in many print and electronic editions. Two annotated versions have been published. One, put out by Lousiana State University Press in 1968 and edited by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, is widely available (often economically available from eBay sellers). It's available from Amazon:
LSU edition on Amazon
A 2007 edition titled Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave and Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, prepared by the late Sue Eakin (whom I assisted slightly and who credited me in some of the footnotes). The hardcover edition is no longer in print, but it is available as an audiobook, e-book and paperback. See: Twelve Years a Slave, by Dr. Sue Eakin and Louis Gossett, Jr.
Since it was originally published in 1853, the book is in the public domain, and is available online from several sites including:
Docsouth (text version) or
Google Books, where you can even save a copy on your own computer by clicking on the Gear icon, then use Download PDF.
In 2012, a screen adaptation of Northup's story was filmed in Louisiana, directed by well-known British filmmaker Steve McQueen. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the role of Solomon Northup, and the cast includes many notable performers, including: Lupita Nyong'o, Quvenzhane Wallis, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Sarah Paulson, Dwight Henry, Garret Dillahunt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard, and Chris Berry (who also appeared in Django Unchained). The movie was released in October 2013, and won three Oscars in 2014, including Best Picture.
Watch the Standard-Definition trailer Watch the High-Definition trailer
Watch this featurette about the making of the film 12 Years A Slave from Fox Searchlight.
Video: Legacy of Solomon Northup, which includes me.
Preview of an extra feature from the Blu-ray disc of 12 Years A Slave, which includes me.
My name is David Fiske, and I have done a lot of research on Northup's life after he regained his freedom. After the publication of his book, he spoke rather extensively at various places throughout the Northeast (see a list of his appearances).
There is also pretty good evidence that he was involved with the Underground Railroad in Vermont, helping other blacks to become free [View two letters that mention his involvement (click on Digital Content)]. Sadly, it appears that he had financial problems as time went on, and the circumstances of his death are unknown.
My 2012 book Solomon Northup: His Life Before and After Slavery (2012) contains information about what Northup's life was like before he was kidnapped, and after his return to New York.
On March 15, 2014, I will speak following a planned screening of the film "12 Years A Slave," at the Ballston Spa Public Library, located at 21 Milton Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY. Screening to begin at 1 pm. Free, but reservations required. Details.
On March 25, 2014, I will be at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, New York. I will talk about how black citizens of New York State were kidnapped and sold into slavery, and I will also tell how Northup's wife Anne supported her familyu during the time that Northup was enslaved. Details.
On March 29, 2014, I will give a presentation at the Langley-Adams Library, in Groveland, Massachusetts. Details.
I have done the following presentations on Northup's life:
"Free at Last: Solomon Northup in the North", Chapman Historical Museum, Glens Falls, NY, June 2000
On February 16th, 2012, I appeared on CBS6 Albany to discuss my book
History talk on February 18, 2012 at the New York State Library in Albany, New York: What Happened to Solomon Northup?
Presentation at Ballston Spa Public Library, April 21, 2012
Presentation at Fort Edward Art Center, Fort Edward, NY, June 21, 2012
I talked about Solomon Northup's wife at the 2012 Solomon Northup Day, which was held at the Saratoga Springs (NY) Visitor Center on July 21, 2012
On July 28, 2012, I read selections from Solomon Northup: His Life Before and After Slavery at the Rensselaerville (NY) Festival of Writers
I made a presentation for Black History Month, at the Schenecteady County Public Library on February 16, 2013.
On May 23, 2013, I gave a slideshow presentation at the Saratoga Springs History Museum titled "Solomon Northup: The Years after Twelve Years a Slave"
Talk and Book-Signing, RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 21, 2013
September 21, 2013: Talk and Book Signing at the RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Details on the event.
September 28, 2013: Presentation at Aaron Burr Association Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, New York
On October 24, 2013, David Fiske, Clifford W. Brown and Rachel Seligman, authors of Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave, appeared at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY, to sign copies of the book and talk about Solomon Northup.
On October 25th, 2013, I appeared on CBS6 Albany to discuss Solomon Northup and the film 12 Years a Slave. Watch it here.
On October 28th, 2013, authors David Fiske, Clifford W. Brown and Rachel Seligman were interviewed on WAMC's Round Table program. Listen here
I read about and discussed Solomon Northup at the Fall Reading Series, Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York, October 28, 2013. Details
Glens Falls Chronicle Autumn Leaves Book Fair, November 3, 2013, I was among those who gave presentations about Solomon Northup.
February 1, 2014: Schenectady County Public Library, presentation, "Kidnapped: Black New Yorkers Caught in the Slave Trade."
On February 5, 2014, I was the guest on Jane E. Wilcox's Forget-Me-Not Hour on blogtalkradio. Listen here
On February 22, 2014, I gave a presentation at the Guilderland Public Library, "Rescued from Slavery: The Story of Solomon Northup."
Schedule a Presentation
If you're interested in hiring me to do a talk, or otherwise want to communicate with me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Get a flyer that describes presentations I'm able to give.
See the topics I can present on.
Other ways to contact David Fiske.
My article "Rescued by the Law," about Northup, appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of New York Archives magazine.
I wrote a guest column for Adirondack Almanack, about Northup's connection with New York's Adirondacks region.
I put together an article on Canadian native Samuel Bass.
I wrote some material that was included in the production notes for the film 12 Years a Slave.
Read my article Authenticity and Authorship: Solomon Northupís Twelve Years a Slave on the New York History Blog.
As a musician in antebellum New York State, Solomon Northup was not unique. Read this article I wrote profiling several black musicians in 19th Century New York.
In the Media
View a slideshow about Northup at slideshare.net.
Solomon Northup Facebook Page