What became of Solomon Northup, who inspired the movie 12 Years a Slave, and his family? Deos he have living descendants?

January 4, 2016
First Published On: January 4, 2016
by HitBerry

Solomon Northup, the person who inspired the 2014 Oscar winning movie 12 years a slave, still has family today in America. Moreover, they total to over 47 in number and are spread out in three distinctive areas of USA.

His descendants are currently the sixth generation of his offspring and are living in Washington D.C, Los Angeles, California and Rochester, New York. The entire Northup family met in the three cities they are currently living in.

Many of his descendants have said that it was difficult for them the watch the ordeal their forefather had to go through in the movie. They have also said that they are extremely grateful to Steve McQueen, the director, for bringing out to open their forefather’s legacy.

The get together of the Solomon Northup family was organized in the month of March in 2014 by prominent celebrity magazine The Hollywood reporter. The organizers of the event have also said that they are proud of the descendants of Solomon and are honored to be responsible for bringing them all together.

His decedents are now a racially diverse group and they have said that the movie was not only moving for them, but a difficult task to take in as they are now a diverse group. One of the younger descendants said she grew up hearing the story but had never visualized the incident wholly. She also said it gave her mixed feelings, but she was happy to have witnessed it onscreen.

Solomon was a free born African American who was sold into slavery like millions during his time. He tried escaping from a number of owners, but it took him over twelve years to finally reach his family, who had long presumed him to be dead.

He was freed with the help of the then New York Governor. After being freed, Solomon tried his kidnappers on court. After this ordeal, he began giving interviews and became an active abolitionist. He also considered himself to be a carpenter and a musician

However, till today, the exact reason behind Solomon’s death remains a mystery. A particular group of scholars have even contested that he could have once again been sold into slavery or killed by racists who did not like the attention he had received.  

Sources also claim that although the world got to know about Solomon only in 2014. His descendants were well aware of his struggle from an early age. Several descendents even make yearly trips to his hometown of Saratoga Springs in New York to celebrate Solomon Northup Day, which has already reached its 16th year.

Many prominent historians have also said that Solomon was pivotal to the start of abolishment in the United States. His story sparked great hue and cry, which helped various organization push for abolishment with a more aggressive stance.