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When Solomon Northup, born a free black man in Saratoga, New York, was offered a short-term job with a circus in Washington, D.C., in 1841, he jumped at the opportunity. But when he arrived, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Finally, with the help of a Canadian abolitionist, he was rescued and reunited with his family in New York. In this memoir published in 1853, Northup tells the incredible story of his 12 years as a slave.
Lexile score: 1200L
Born free in New York State in 1808, African American Solomon Northup became a distinguished musician. He was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery in the American South, where he spent 12 years in captivity. Northup regained his freedom in 1853, and the autobiography he published about his experience helped to inspire abolitionist fervor in the northern United States. Northup died in 1857.