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Stolen into Slavery
Cover of Stolen into Slavery
Stolen into Slavery
The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man
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The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery...
The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery...
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  • The true story behind the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave, this book is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured in the United States and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

    Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of the night with his body trembling. Slowly, he realized that he was handcuffed in a dark room and his feet were chained to the floor. He managed to slip his hand into his pocket to look for his free papers that proved he was one of 400,000 free blacks in a nation where 2.5 million other African Americans were slaves. They were gone.

    This remarkable story follows Northup through his 12 years of bondage as a man kidnapped into slavery, enduring the hardships of slave life in Louisiana. But the tale also has a remarkable ending. Northup is rescued from his master's cotton plantation in the deep South by friends in New York. This is a compelling tale that looks into a little known slice of history, sure to rivet young readers and adults alike.

    National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
    Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter One Solomon Northup awoke in the middle of an April night in 1841 with his body trembling, his head throbbing, and a terrifying question in his mind: Where was he? He slowly realized that he was in a dark, dank, foul-smelling dungeon in Washington, D.C. Worse yet, he was in handcuffs and his feet were chained to the floor.

    As his head cleared, Solomon managed to slip a hand into his trousers pocket, where he had placed his money and his "free papers" for safekeeping. They were gone! He checked his other pockets and found no trace of the money or the papers that proved he was one of 400,000 "free blacks" in a nation where 2.5 million African Americans were slaves.

    "There must have been some mistake," Solomon told him- self. Any second now the two white men he had been traveling with would arrive to free him. But as the night wore on, he began to wonder whether these seemingly friendly men could have betrayed him.

    The rising sun revealed that Solomon was in a cell with only one small window covered by thick iron bars. Soon he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. A key turned in a lock, the heavy iron door swung open, and two men entered the room where Solomon was chained.

    "Well, my boy, how do you feel now?" asked one of the men, who Solomon later learned was named James Birch.

    Solomon, who was 32 years old, wasn't accustomed to being called "boy," which was a demeaning way of addressing male slaves regardless of age. "What is the cause of my imprisonment?" Solomon demanded.

    "I have bought you, and you are my slave."

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2012
    Most readers know something about the Underground Railroad, when African Americans went from slavery to freedom, but this volume presents the opposite scenario: the enslavement of thousands of free Northern blacks. Solomon Northup was one of 400,000 free blacks living in the United States in 1841. He was living in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with his wife and three children, when two white men offered him good money to play violin for the circus they represented. Solomon jumped at the chance and soon found himself captured, beaten and transported to Louisiana, where he suffered a 12-year odyssey as a slave. Brevity, the focus on one man's story and a lively prose style make this an unusually affecting and important narrative. All of the dialogue and many of the details come from Northup's own memoir, Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853. Photographs, maps and reproductions of a bill of sale and various newspaper images complement the text. Unfortunately, sources are not always provided, as for a Frederick Douglass quotation on the final page, and the meager bibliography offers no sources for young readers, a shame since so many fine sources exist. An excellent and important introduction to a man who went from freedom to slavery and back again. (afterword, time line, online resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

    (COPYRIGHT (2012) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2012

    Gr 5-8-Using a format similar to that of their 5000 Miles to Freedom (National Geographic, 2006), the Fradins tell the dramatic story of a free African American man from New York who was tricked, drugged, and sold into slavery in 1841. They draw upon Northup's 1853 memoir and their own research to describe his 12-year ordeal, from his fear and confusion when he awoke in a Washington, DC, slave market to his journey by ship to New Orleans to his brutal treatment at the hands of slave masters and overseers. The Fradins also discuss his ceaseless and often-dangerous efforts to prove his identity and reclaim his status as a free man and reunite with his wife and three children. The authors place his story into the context of antebellum America by examining how Northup's memoir affected the national debate about slavery. The text is supplemented with black-and-white reproductions of period documents and illustrations, modern location photos, and maps. This book will help readers understand the constant dangers that even free blacks faced, the brutality of slavery, and how the abolitionist movement used the accounts of escaped and freed slaves to shape public opinion. It offers much more detail than Mary Young and Gerald Horne's Testaments of Courage: Selections from Men's Slave Narratives (Watts, 1995), which includes a chapter on Northup.-Mary Mueller, formerly at Rolla Junior High School, MO

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 1, 2012
    Grades 5-8 Expanding a chapter from Dennis Fradin's Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves (2000), the Fradins relate the harrowing experiences of a freeborn New York resident who was kidnapped, drugged, and sold into slavery in 1841. Repeatedly sold and renamed, Northup spent 12 years in captivity on several Louisiana plantations before he was able to contact his familyand, more importantly, considering contemporary laws and attitudes, a white lawyer who knew himto secure his release. Based on Northup's published account, supported by other sources, and enhanced by both relevant period illustrations and generous quantities of print and web leads to further information, this simply, cogently written story illuminates one of the less well known episodes in slavery's history.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2012
    Grades 6-10 In 1946, with the racism of WWII fresh in people's minds, the powers behind the Superman franchise decided to use the superhero (in his radio incarnation) to take on a growing concern: the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan. How did that happen? Bowers, author of Spies of Mississippi (2010), begins with the story of Superman's creators, two Jewish kids who grew up in Cleveland. In alternating sections, he also follows the evolution of the Klan, from its beginnings after the Civil War to its renaissance, thanks to the keen efforts of a PR team, in the 1920s and beyond. A dual biography of both the hero and the hate group, this book also chronicles the early years of comics, introduces those responsible for Superman'sand the Klan'smeteoric rise, and discusses how both Superman and the Klan came with values they wanted to impress upon young people. That all makes for plenty of compelling buildup to the radio showdown, which gets a bit lost when finally discussed near the book's end. Great archival photos, but the imageless cover could use a little Superman.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

  • The Horn Book

    March 1, 2012
    This crackerjack work of nonfiction uses the appeal of popular culture to illuminate social movements, mass media, and historical research. For superhero fans, Bowers (Spies of Mississippi, rev. 5/10) starts with the creation of Superman and his publisher, DC Comics; a four-page color insert shows the Man of Steel through the years to 2011. The book then leads readers through the rise, fall, and resurgence of the K.K.K. and introduces Stetson Kennedy, a progressive Floridian determined to stymie the hate group. In 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, the producers of the Superman radio show deployed their character's popularity in a campaign against bigotry, using information Kennedy had collected about the Klan -- though not, as he and the Anti-Defamation League claimed shortly afterward, revealing secret passwords. The book thus also shows a historian at work: Bowers explains how he dug through past myths, examined original archives, and reached tentative conclusions about what most likely happened and why. The result is not a simplistic tale of a few heroes banding together to fight evil but a complex history of organizations guided by both ideology and profit, people both well-meaning and flawed, and shifts in popular sentiment. Bibliography, sources, and index. j. l. bell

    (Copyright 2012 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • The Horn Book

    July 1, 2012
    In 1841 free black man Solomon Northup is kidnapped, sold into slavery, and shipped to Louisiana. Holding onto his love of music and his family, Northup endures twelve years of heartbreak and abuse. Faithful to his autobiography, the authors present an authentic account of slavery. Maps, archival photographs, and illustrations complement this stirring biography. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind.

    (Copyright 2012 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

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Stolen into Slavery
Stolen into Slavery
The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man
Judith Bloom Fradin
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