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In Their Own Words

Nothing is more impactful than reading the true stories of other people’s lives. Here are 3 books about what it was like to be a slave in America. 

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, 1808-1864, is his memoir of being sold into slavery, even though he was a free man. He kidnapped and later sold into slavery in New Orleans. He spent 12 years as a slave on various farms in the south until he met and worked with a Canadian named Samuel Bass who got word to Northup’s family. Northup was later freed and returned to his family. 12 Years a Slave was made into a movie, released in 2013.

Harriett is a 2019 movie based on the book by Sarah Bradford, recalling the events of the life of Harriett Tubman.Harriett escaped slavery and returned to Maryland numerous times to lead 70 slaves to freedom in the north. Most of the movie is based on a book by Sarah Hopkins Bradford's 'Harriet, the Moses of Her People.” Sarah was a friend of Harriett Tubman and interviewed her numerous times about her experiences.

The book The Underground Railroad Records: Narrating the Hardships, Hairbreadth Escapes, and Death Struggles of Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom by William Still is referenced in the movie Harriett. It chronicles the lives of slaves who made it to freedom in Philadelphia where their stories were safely recorded and retained, by William Still.

February is Black History month. The 2024 theme is “African Americans and the Arts.”



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