Solomon Northup

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by JozyFairchild
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
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Solomon Northup

Eliza was a young woman with a daughter named Emily and a son named Randall. Like Solomon, they were kidnapped and brought to New Orleans to be sold as slaves. In New Orleans, she was sold to the same owner as Solomon, but her son and daughter where sold to different people. Later on, she dies of malnourishment and from the loss of her children.

In my research, I focused on Solomon Northup. I found out that when Merrill Brown and Abraham Hamilton kidnapped Solomon. They sold him into slavery and he had to endure seeing and experienceing slavery for twelve long years. During theses twelve years, Solomon also had three masters that he respected and loathed. With this, I can conclude that while going through slavery, Solomon experienced many things that opened his eyes to a new world.

After being beaten up for protesting that he was not a slave but was a free man, he and other captured blacks were loaded on to a steamboat to be brought to New Orleans. On the steamboat, he met a woman named Eliza and two other black men who planned to mutiny the ship. Solomon tried to help, but in the end, one of the two men died of smallpox. After arriving in New Orleans, all of them were brought to a slave trader named Theophilus Freeman. There, Solomon was given the name Platt.

Resources:-Northup, Solomon, and D. Wilson. Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841 and Rescued in 1853, from the Cotton Plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana. S.l.: U of Michigan U Library, 2006. Print- also got my images from: - solomon-northup/- addition, if you want to learn more about Solomon Northup and his life, watch the movie and read the book called "Twelve Years a Slave."

Later on, Tibeats sold Solomon to a "repulsive and coarse" cotton planter named Edwin Epps. Solomon described Epps as a being "devoid of any redeeming qualities." Solomon served Epps for the remaining ten years he was a slave and when Epps was drunk, he would call his slaves and dance with them or use a long whip to lash at slaves just to hear them scream. But when he was sober, "he was silent, reserved, and cunning, not beating (them) indiscriminately, as in his drunken moments, but sending the end of his rawhide to some tender spot of a lagging slave, with a sly dexterity peculiar to himself. After being sold to Ewdin Epps, Solomon even thought of escaping every day but realized the attempt would be futile.

While living at the plantation, Solomon also met another young woman by the name of Patsey. When it came to picking cotton, Patsey was the "queen of the field" for her fingers possessed a "lightening-quick motion." The very dexterity that Solomon lacked.

Solomon Northup's JourneyBy: Jocelyn Pike

In the month of June 1852, a Canadian abolitionist named Samuel Bass came to Epps's plantation to find work. Solomon had the fortune of meeting Bass and told him of how he was a free man who was captured into slavery. After hearring this, Bass agreed to send four letters to people Solomon knew to help try and get Solomon's freedom. From this, Solomon thought he owed Bass an immeasurable debt of gratitude.

When Solomon was in New Orleans, he was sold to a Baptist preacher named William Ford for $900. Ford also bought Eliza and tried to get her daughter but Freeman woudln't allow it. Ford "proved to be a kind, fair, man and the tasks he assigned Solomon were quite lenient for slave labor." Solomon also told about how "there never was a more kind, noble, candid, christian man." Because Ford treated Solomon with enough respect, Solomon helped make Ford's logging business quicker by having a logging waterway made on the bayou instead of Ford having to transport logs by land.

In the winter of 1842, Ford went bankrupt and sold Solomon to John Tibeats. John Tibeats was a "quick tempered" man who was also a cruel and harsh master. "From earliest dawn until late at night", Solomon and the other slaves would work for Tideats, who was never satisfied. While Solomon was working for Tideats, Tideats had tried to whip Solomon once, but ended up getting himself beaten up by Solomon. Then later on, Tibeats and two of his associates attemped to lynch Solomon but failed. The last time Tideats tried to threaten Solomon's life was when he attacked Solomon with a hatchet. Because of this last attempt on his life, Solomon fled to the swamp and found his way to Ford's plantation seeking refuge.

At the age 33, in March of 1841, two men named Merill Brown and Abraham Hamilton approached Solomon. These men claimed to have been with a circus and were looking for a person who was talented at playing the fiddle. They promised Solomon that he would be paid "one dollar for each day's services and three dollars for every show that he played." When Solomon agreed to take the job, he and the other two men first traveled to New York City and then went further down south to Washington D.C. Everything was going great for Solomon, until he was drugged while having a drink and awoke to being chained up all alone in a room full of darkness.

Finally, in the month of January 1853, Solomon's prayers were answered. After waiting a long time, (in which Solomon had begun to believe no one was coming for him) a man named Henry B. Northup came to Epp's plantation looking for Solomon. After a few disagreements, and an emotional moment with Patsey, Solomon was finally able to go home to his family after twelve long years as a slave.

In the end though, Solomon's life had changed forever because of the harsh cruelty that he had endured from slavery. He saw people lose their lives, their families, and their soul. His story is just one of the many that tells of how free blacks were captured and what they experienced as slaves.

Ford was not able to buy Solomon back, but convinced Tibeats to hire Solomon out to less abusive masters on sugar cane and other plantations. There, Solomon learned how to cultivate, harvest, and cut crops.


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