Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup was a black resident of Saratoga County in the period before the Civil War. He was an educated man who had been in business for himself, as well as worked for others. He had a family and owned a home. In 1841 he was lured to Washington, D. C. and kidnapped into slavery. He spent the next 12 years working on plantations in Louisiana. He was finally freed through the intervention of friends whom he had reached through correspondence. Strictly speaking it is not an underground railroad story, but it is an important story that should be told along with the story of the underground railroad.

Northup’s incredible recall of detail allowed him to write a narrative of his years in captivity which became a best seller. It revealed the horror and depravity of American slavery. Fortunately for Northup he was able to get a letter off through a sympathetic person. Upon being able to identify his location his friends in the Saratoga area were able to approach the Governor of New York to appoint a delegation to find him and free him.

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