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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (Auburn: Derby and Miller, 1853) Solomon Northup, a Victim of Kidnapping Solomon Northup was born a free man in New York State in 1803. In 1841, while residing in Saratoga Springs with his wife and children, he was hired to do a job that would take him south. When he arrived in Washington, D.C., he was drugged and chained in a slave pen. As he protested that he was a free man, slave dealer James H. Birch and another man beat him with a paddle and gave him a hundred lashes. After ten days, Northup, shackled and handcuffed, was put on a steamboat and sent to Richmond, where with forty-eight other men and women he boarded a ship for New Orleans. He was sold to a faraway plantation and changed owners several times before he could send a letter to friends who helped free him after twelve years in bondage. His autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, sold more than thirty thousand copies.
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