Teacher Guide

Twelve Years a Slave Lesson Plan

Introduction to Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave is a memoir written by Solomon Northup about the period of his life in which he was kidnapped from his home state of New York and sold into slavery in Louisiana. It became a best-seller and is one of the prominent pre-Civil War slave narratives.

Northup tells the story of his kidnapping, his enslavement by three different white masters over the course of twelve years, the tragedies that his fellow enslaved people experienced during the time he was with them, and his final liberation by the man who had once owned and then freed Northup's father. He is clearly writing for a majority-white audience at a time when the ethics of slavery seemed to be "up for debate" in...

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