This October, a class offered through SUNY Adirondack’s Continuing Education division will provide details on the life of Solomon Northup. Northup was a free black man who was kidnapped from Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841, and sold into slavery.
Following his release in 1853, Northup penned a narrative, Twelve Years a Slave, which was the basis for the Academy Award winning film, 12 Years a Slave. The title of the class is “The Real Solomon Northup from 12 Years a Slave,” and the instructor is local author David Fiske.
Fiske has spent a number of years researching Northup’s life, and is a co-author of the book, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave, and the author of Solomon Northup’s Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War. Fiske has also written numerous articles relating to Northup, and was consulted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in connection with a recent edition of Northup’s book.
Though Northup resided in Saratoga at the time he was lured into slavery, he also had a presence in Fort Edward and Glens Falls. During the class, Fiske will discuss the man’s early life in Washington County, his kidnapping from Saratoga Springs, and his family’s residency in Glens Falls and the Lake George area after Northup was rescued from slavery. Local sites that figured in Northup’s life in New York State will be highlighted. Fiske will also discuss some recently discovered evidence that could shed light on Northup’s activities during the Civil War years.
The class is part of the college’s “Never Stop Learning” series and will be presented at the college’s Queensbury, New York campus, on the morning of October 17, 2017. The cost is $15. For registration information, call (518) 743-2238, or click here.
Illustration: Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a Slave.