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Showing posts from November, 2013

12 Years A Slave

Like the Holocaust, America's woeful history of slavery tends to be looked upon in monolithic terms.  A colossal, calculated, horrible example of man's inhumanity to man.  A grievous monument of hatred and brutality beyond, for some at least, words and comprehension.  But as with the Holocaust, about which new stories seem to emerge yearly, America's slave history has produced many and disparate narratives.

One such story was that of Solomon Northup. After being lured to Washington D.C. for some brief but lucrative work, Mr. Northup, a free man who lived with his family in upstate New York, was drugged and awoke to find himself in chains.  When he protested that he was a free man, he was brutalized for the first of what would be many occasions in the succeeding dozen years.  Northup endured a slave's life in various Louisiana plantations until his whereabouts were finally discovered by family and friends, thanks to a friendly emissary, Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass.…