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12 Years a Slave (2013)12 Years a Slave (2013)

           In 1853 Solomon Northup published an autobiographical slave narrative called "Twelve Years a Slave." Northup was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York, who enjoyed a good life with a wife and two children. He was kidnapped in 1841 when he took a job in Washington, DC, where his "employers" drugged him and then sold him into slavery. He ended up on a Louisiana plantation run by a sadistic owner. This movie dramatizes that true story. It goes without saying that Northup was one of a very few slaves who regained their freedom. One reviewer rightly said of this movie that "some of the scenes are almost unbearable in their cruelty." And yet we know that the social and historical realities of slavery for African Americans was far worse than even this disturbing movie.

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