Slavery in the south took freedom from Solomon Northup in the middle of the 1800s. Solomon was born a free man in upstate New York in 1808. He grew up working with his father, Mintus. The father and son pair worked the farm and rafted the waterways of New York. Shortly after his father’s death, Northup married Anne Hampton. The couple had three children together. Solomon had a natural talent for playing the fiddle; he was so good that he was offered to play in a traveling musical show(Northup 1853,17-29). Northup accepted the offer for the “reward it promised, and from a desire to visit the metropolis”(Northup 1853,30).
The offer sounded so promising, too good to resist. The two men, Hamilton and Brown, promised “one dollar for each day’s services, and three dollars in addition for each night I played at their performances” . The two men immediately wanted to leave; Northup gathered “a change of linen and my violin”(Northup 1853,30). He was ready to depart for the adventure of a lifetime. The first night Solomon viewed the performance of one of the men. The next day the pair worried about getting to the next show on time. Thinking they wouldn’t make it, Soloman thought his journey was surely over. However, Hamilton and Brown assured him it wasn’t over and asked Northup to join the journey for the Summer. Solomon accepted, and the three men gathered the papers claiming Northup’s freedom from slavery as they entered into a slave-state. Solomon describes the days leading up to his capturing as unknowing, kind treatment from Hamilton and Brown, and even an early pay (Northup 1853,31). Little did Northup know of what was about to hit him.
“No good angel of pity came to my bedside bidding me to fly-no voice of mercy forewarned me in my dreams of the trials that were just at hand,” Northrup says the night before his life changed (Northup 1853,35). With the excitement of the day, Solomon says, “I had not seen nothing of the circus. In fact, I had thought of it but little, if at all…”(Northup 1853,35). After a few drinks with his new friends, Solomon began to feel ill. He had lost his appetite and only wanted water. He was put to bed in hopes he’d feel better after waking up (Northup 1853,36). In the night, Solomon was instructed by people unknown to visit the doctor. The next thing brought to memory, “I found myself alone, in utter darkness, and in chains” (Northup 1853,38). Northup had been wrongfully drugged by his new friends and sold into the darkness of slavery in America.
Solomon in disbelief says, “ It could not be that a free citizen of New York, who had wronged no man, nor violated any law, should be dealt with thus inhumanly” (Northup 1853,39) Northup could not believe he had been taken from freedom. After the doors of the prison opened up, Solomon realized his surroundings and knew his life was changing before his eyes. Solomon was asked of his feelings, he responded asking what made...