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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

'12 Years a Slave' a powerful story with a Saratoga connection

Finally saw “12 Years a Slave” this past Sunday afternoon at Bow-Tie Cinema downtown, where the matinee was fairly full. It is a powerful, moving film.
Solomon Northup’s story is extraordinary story and the movie does it justice. What an incredible man he was. He not only survived kidnapping and 12 years in slavery, but he never lost hope. He eventually succeeded in getting word home, leading to the rescue from his 12-year nightmare. Quickly thereafter, in 1853, he published his story — and the story of those around him, the good and the evil. Plenty of evil.
Northup and his wife and two children lived in Saratoga when he was tricked by two hucksters, abducted and sold into slavery. He is commemorated by a plaque near the SaratogaSprings Visitor Center. The Visitor Center website notes that he worked at the then-grand Grand Union Hotel and other hotels and was an accomplished violinist. In 2002, the City Council proclaimed the third Saturday in July “Solomon Northup Day,” thanks largely to the efforts of city native Renee Moore.
A website called Faces of Solomon is filled with images and information about his descendants, many of whom live upstate. It’s an inspiring living testament to keeping the story of Solomon Northup alive.


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