As we all know, life for a slave was very gruesome. Slaves encountered separatism from their families, rape, accusations of crimes that they most likely had not done, brutal beatings, lynching, and etc. Slaves endured so much pain that after a while, they began to get used to unfair treatment. It soon became a lifestyle for them. It’s obvious that their lives were very unfavorable. But what about free slaves? Yes, they were “free,” but they rarely had freedom. They still didn’t have the same privileges and rights as an American, nor did they have the power to live any different than a slave. During the time, African Americans were considered only ⅗ of a person. In fact, being black during that time was a crime itself. My research paper will focus on free-born African Americans who were “mistakenly” forced into slavery. I contend that life for free African Americans was just as unfair as the life of a slave.
Imagine being taken from your family and being sold into slavery with little to no chance of every being free or seeing your family? Conceived in July 1808 in Minerva, New York, Solomon Northup grew up a liberated individual, functioning as an agriculturist and violinist while having a family. Northup was freed in 1853 with assistance from partners and companions. His encounters are the subject of the book and film 12 Years a Slave. In March of 1841, he was conscripted by two white men who claimed they worked as circus performers and offered him some money to join their act as a fiddler, traveling south from New York. In early April, he and the men arrived to Washington D.C. There, Northup was drugged, lost consciousness, and awoke to find himself in shackles in an underground cell. He was conveyed to Richmond, Virginia, and then delivered by ship to New Orleans, where in June he was sold at a slave market under the name Platt Hamilton. Solomon Northup’s experience is unforgettable. In Louisiana, he spent twelve of his years as a slave. He tried hard to explain to the men and slave masters that he was a free man, but they refused to listen. Solomon Northup’s first master’s name was William Ford. In 1842, his master was forced to sell him to John Tibaut because he was in debt. William Ford wasn’t the worst master, but John was very wicked. There’d been situations where Solomon and Tibaut would fight because Solomon resisted being beaten. In the movie, John is referred to as “John Tibeats.” His experience of being kidnapped and sold into slavery was by no means an isolated incident. In April 1843 Northup was sold by Ford and Tibaut to Edwin Epps, under whose possession he stayed for the following decade. Epps utilized Northup both as a craftsman slave and as a field hand, at times renting him out to farmers who grew and processed sugar. All through this time, Northup was frequently a ‘driver’ responsible for different slaves. Northup tried escaping multiple occasions, but of course, was very unsuccessful. It was not until the point when an abolitionist craftsman from Canada named Samuel Bass visited Epps’ ranch in June 1852 that Northup could mastermind to have letters conveyed to companions in New York to alarm them of his circumstance and get under way his save. One letter was sent to Anne Northup, his wife, who then sought help to free her husband. Henry activated across the board bolster for Solomon among the main residents of Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls) and Fort Edward, New York, and, under a 1840 resolution intended to safeguard New York subjects sold into bondage, in November 1852 Gov. Washington Hunt made him an operator of the State of New York to discover Solomon. Outfitted with this variety of documentation, alongside letters from a congressperson and a Supreme Court equity, Henry went to Louisiana and contracted neighborhood direct. With the assistance of Bass, they could find Solomon, and his opportunity was lawfully acquired on January 4, 1853.
Northup was brought together with his family soon thereafter. His protect was generally plugged. Halting in Washington, D.C., in transit to New York, he brought charges against James H. Birch (alluded to as James H. Burch in Northup’s account), the slave merchant who had detained him. As a result of his race, however, he was not allowed to affirm, and the case was expelled after two other slave merchants affirmed in the interest of Birch. That equivalent year, together with neighborhood essayist David Wilson, Northup wrote his diary, Twelve Years a Slave. The book sold exactly 30,000 duplicates in the resulting three years, and Northup utilized the returns to buy property in upstate New York, where he lived with his family.
From 1853 to 1857 Northup, now a national superstar, occupied with broad talking visits. Because of the story’s far reaching reputation, the New York criminals were recognized, captured, and prosecuted in 1854. After much legitimate moving, the case achieved the state preeminent court and afterward the court of offers, yet the charges were at last rejected in May 1857. Northup along these lines vanished from general visibility and, the best proof shows, joined the Underground Railroad and went through quite a while in New England helping got away slaves achieve Canada. The time and conditions of his passing, and also his place of internment, are obscure. His last open appearance was in Streetsville, Ontario, Canada, in August 1857. He was not represented in the U.S. registration of 1860 and more likely than not predeceased Anne, who kicked the bucket in 1876.
Twelve Years a Slave stays a standout amongst the most vital American slave stories. It is an important wellspring of data with respect to the day by day lives of slaves in focal Louisiana, including the Christmas celebratory practices in slave culture. Its keen however nonpolemical decisions of individuals depicted in the account have been remarked on from the season of the book’s distribution.
Twelve Years a Slave left print before the turn of the century. In any case, Louisiana specialists Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon went through quite a few years examining Northup’s life previously, in 1968, discharging a commented on reproduce that substantiated a significant number of his cases. A yearly festival known as Solomon Northup Day was set up in Saratoga Springs in 1999. Northup’s diary likewise gave the premise to executive Gordon Parks’ TV docudrama Solomon Northup’s Odyssey (1984) and chief Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave (2013).
Being born free did not stop the chances of an individual becoming a slave. Being black was already a punishment during this time. If you were born free in the North and were accused of being a runaway slave, it was legal for you to be taken south into slavery. I’m sure there are many cases like Solomon Northup, and worse, that are still unknown today.
Although this may have been a traumatic moment for Solomon Northup, most free blacks never recovered their opportunity.