The story of Solomon Northup is heart-breaking, and one that deserved to be remembered.  Solomon a talented violinist was kidnapped from Washington City in 1841, and was sold into slavery for $650. During the entire twelve-year period of his captivity, Solomon Northup’s friends and family, including his wife and two young children had no way of knowing where he was.
It was the work of a plantation worker who sent several letters north on Solomon’s behalf that earned him his freedom. The slave dealer responsible for the kidnapping, James H. Burch, had given Solomon a hundred lashes and threatened to kill him if he ever stated to anyone that he was a free man.  Eventually when the case went to trial Solomon Northup was unable to take the stand, because Washington law prohibited black witnesses from testifying against white defendants. Burch was acquitted because he claimed he’d thought Northup was truly a slave for sale, and Northup couldn’t testify otherwise. 
Thankfully on January 4th back in 1853 Solomon Northup was freed from a life of slavery in Louisiana and returned home.  As a free man Solomon recorded his experiences in his memoirs, and in 2013 his story was turned into a film which was directed by Steve McQueen.
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