Solomon Northup Photo

Solomon Northup

Born: Jul 10, 1808

Death: Jan 1, 1863

Birthplace: Minerva

Nationality: United States

Solomon Northup

Date of Birth : Jul 10, 1808
Date of Death : Jan 1, 1863
Birth Place : Minerva

Solomon Northup 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 violinist, Northup owned land in Hebron, New York. In 1841, he was offered a traveling musician's job and went to Washington, D.C.; there he was 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. The slave trader in Washington, D.C., James H. Birch, was arrested and tried, but acquitted because District of Columbia law prohibited Northup as a black man from testifying against white people.

Also known as

  • Solomon Noethup


  • Mintus Northup


  • Anne Hampton


  • Alonzo Northup
  • Margaret Northup
  • Elizabeth Northup
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