12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
A true story, one that continually rouses a broad range of emotions. This is the gripping story of an accomplished middle class free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Solomon Northup had a family and kids and lived in upstate New York. He had a broad range of talents and skills most notably the violin. He had great relationships with persons in the community and was always known as a hard-working family man. Solomon Northup wound up in slavery through a whimsical trip to Washington DC and a blurring hangover. Undeground slave trading rings were rampant in DC/VA/OH during this time. Solomon's identity was changed and beat into answering by a different name than his own. He was transitioned through multiple slave plantations in the south. He was forced to hold back his ability to read, communicate, and solve problems because it was a threat to his masters. He was mentally and physically harassed and suppressed daily. His ability to foster relationships with visitors to the plantations ultimately lead to his release through a bit of altruistic goodwill from one man.
He witnessed the break up and dissolution of families and of mothers from their young kids. He witnesses a woman lose her mind and give up hope. He experienced countless obstacles and mental challenges. He was very smart in his approach to continuing to work hard and never fully accepted his dire circumstances. His hope was continual and never ceased although he failed countless times to obtain his release. He was almost killed a number of times in confrontations with sober and often drunken masters full of resentment and hatred toward him.
12 Years a Slave is a great story, it is heart-wrenching, and incredibly sad at times. But it nevertheless reveals the power of hope, ugliness of some people, and the overcoming of extreme and dire circumstances through timing and goodwill.