Solomon Northup

Title

Solomon Northup

Description

Solomon Northrup, a free African American from New York, arrived in Washington in 1841 in the company of two white men who had promised him a job as a fiddler. After a day touring the Capitol and White House Grounds, the men drugged him and handed him over to a slave trader. He was imprisoned in Williams' Slave Pen near the Mall, and then sold into slavery for $1,000. He labored for twelve years on a cotton plantation until northern abolitionists, hearing of his plight, obtained his freedom through a series of legal battles in 1853.

Creator

Source

Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup (London, 1853). View original document.

Coverage

First Name

Solomon

Last Name

Northup

Birth Date

1808

Birthplace

Minerva, Essex County, New York

Death Date

1863

Occupation

Biographical Text

Northrup was free African American farmer and musician from New York state. He was married with children at the time of his kidnapping in Washington, DC.

Following the restoration of his freedom in 1853, he wrote an account of his experience, titled Twelve Years a Slave, published that same year. This drawing of him during his captivity as a slave was one of the illustrations in that memoir.

Although he filed suit against the men who kidnapped him, District of Columbia law did not allow African Americans to testify in court, and he lost the case.

Description

Solomon Northrup, a free African American from New York, arrived in Washington in 1841 in the company of two white men who had promised him a job as a fiddler. After a day touring the Capitol and White House Grounds, the men drugged him and handed him over to a slave trader. He was imprisoned in Williams' Slave Pen near the Mall, and then sold into slavery for $1,000. He labored for twelve years on a cotton plantation until northern abolitionists, hearing of his plight, obtained his freedom through a series of legal battles in 1853.

Creator

Solomon Northup

Birth Date

1808

Death Date

1863

Coverage

1830-1859

Source

Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup (London, 1853). View original document.