Soloman Northup was an African American who was born a free man in New York in the early 19th century. After being kidnapped and eventually set free Northup composed a novel detailing the events and hardships he had endured as a slave for twelve years. The intent of this novel was to put perspective into the minds of the people during the forbidding time period we call the antebellum. In his novel, Northup shows undeniable passion and detail regarding his experience as a slave.
Northup was the son of a freed slave, Mintus Northup, thus putting him under the category of African American. In fact, it was extremely rare for a black man to be literate, especially since it was illegal to teach a slave how to read or write. Northup received an education up to a high school level, which put him in the upper percentile of African Americans. This gave him a clear and ethical view of the world. For instance, Northup helped one of his humble owners devise a business strategy that proposed shipping by canal rather than land. This action strengthened the relationship between Ford and Northup, and eventually Ford would return the favor by convincing Tibeats to spare Northup. It is apparent that this level of education had extreme importance in Soloman’s expedition in the south. Perhaps the utmost importance of his education level was the will to write about his experience. Although he was assisted in writing the book, details were still clear and plentiful.
In the early 19th century, black men were lower on the social ladder than white men. Northup’s father, however, was a respected man, a voting man. Although Northup was not as cherished as his father, he still made a nice living playing the fiddle, and locally he was famous. Unfortunately for Northup, his race and gender are the main motives that led to his kidnapping. Being African American and male would entice slave traders to drug and kidnap Northup. After being brought to the south, Northup was document-less,...
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