In the spring of 1841, Solomon Northup, a free black man, employed as a raftsman, a farmer and an accomplished violinist, is drawn in to a game of duplicity where he is the ultimate prize. The ruse is set up by two white males who play a vaudeville show in Albany, New York, not far from his birth home of Minerva, New York.
For touring with their act, Solomon is promised a wage of one dollar per day, and three dollars for every performance.
The Albany show behind them, they convince Solomon to acquire his papers declaring he is a free man, before they travel to New York City and Washington, D.C.
It is in early April in the nation’s capital that his life takes a turn for the worst.
Having become sick soon after his arrival at the Gadsby hotel, he takes time to rest. His traveling companions come to his room to find him suffering from severe pain, and give him what he believes to be medicine, but when he wakes up he is in a slave pen chained to the floor.
He asks James Burch, the slave trader, why he is in shackles, Burch’s response—“it’s not your business.”
When Solomon informs Burch he is free he receives 100 lashes and is told by Burch if he ever speaks of being free again he would execute him.
The film “12 Years A Slave” based on true accounts written by Solomon Northup himself, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Endgame) as Solomon Northup, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past) Edwin Epps, Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) Margaret Northup, Alfre Woodard, and Christopher Berry as James Burch.
12 Years A Slave is in theaters everywhere October 18, 2013