The True Story of the Man Behind '12 Years A Slave'

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thanks to the new movie “12 Years a Slave,” many people around the world are learning for the first time about a man named Solomon Northup.

A free-born African American man from Saratoga Springs, New York, Northup was kidnapped in 1841, trafficked to the South, and forced into slavery. He eventually regained his freedom in 1853.

Of course, some people have known about Solomon Northup long before this new movie. Among them: Renee Moore of Saratoga Springs.

In the late nineties, Moore set out to make Solomon Northup Day an official city holiday in Saratoga Springs—and she succeeded. Beginning in 1999, and ever since, there’s been an annual holiday and educational programs in his honor, thanks to Moore.

She joins The Takeaway to explain who the man behind the movie is.


Renee Moore

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]


Dear Paul,
We can't have an intelligent discussion when you among other things didn't bother to learn how to spell "The Holocaust." The fact that you didn't bother to do this, the entire manipulation of facts and words and praising of a demagogue who was STRESSING "The HOLOCAUST" several times means that your intentions are as benevolent as that of Renee Moore.
Yes, why would anyone steal someone's horror if not in evil intentions?
And again, leave the decision of what is or isn't the Holocaust to me. This isn't a decision which belongs to antisemitic demagogues. BTW, the term is well established and only the historical revisionists (the surviving Nazis, neo-Nazis, other assorted demagogues, etc.) try to undermine the established usage.
Kay has a good point. Slavery was bad enough and there is no need to steal other people's pain. She is however wrong about the possibility of discussion with bigots.

Oct. 22 2013 07:19 AM

Great commentary Renee! I really enjoyed listening to your comments. You spoke well and not with any malice of any kind. The comment from "Anna" seems off the wall. The use of the term "holocost" is perfectly legitimate and not any attempt at denial of the holocost we have all learned about from World War II and shortly before. One must understand that there is a similarity in the historical events. While the holocost was an attempt at genocide and genocide was apparently not the intent of American slavery but the content of what happened - the beatings, beratings, rapes, selling of children, splitting of families, treating people like animals, denial of history, the lynching, murders and the millions lost in the transportation of people across the Atlantic was more horrific than has been admitted and in that sense it was a holocost and there is a comparison. Let's not get distracted by the use of that word. Let's look at what the movie is trying to convey. It is trying to convey a part of that history and Renee's comments were not a denial in any way of the horror of the holocost.

Oct. 19 2013 08:03 PM
Kay Merkel Boruff from Dallas

I enjoyed the discussion about Solomon Northup with Renee Moore. As another guest, I was taken aback with the term "Holocaust." Although Ms. Moore purposely used the term, she would encompass a broader audience to her cause not to use that term. Her discussion didn't need the use of the term "holocaust" to capture my attention, rather it "pulled me out of the dream" of the discussion. The celebration sounds like it will further her intention, to discuss slavery in America, an admirable cause.

Oct. 18 2013 12:50 PM

Well, I am trying hard to leave the Democratic Party. No success. There is a fraud there.
I am trying hard to post a comment in the area of my expertise stating that indeed there is a difference between the Holocaust and slavery .. there is a no success here either. Why would that be.
Again (the third):
This is terrifying. An evil demagogue is an ... educator.
Miss Renee Moore can't grasp the concept of the Holocaust and her main purpose in life seems to be the Holocaust denial. It's nice to know that "gentlemen" Farrakhan and Wright are joined by the "ladies," who promote hate while preaching understanding. Now understanding can be between them and me.
Can someone explain to her the meaning of the Holocaust (see help below) and the differences between the Holocaust and slavery.
Equally terrifying was the lack of the challenge from John. Again listening to this "interview" was like listening to a conversation of "Lord Galloway" and "Reverend Wright."
Now, shouldn't NPR be in a different business than promoting the Holocaust denial.
"The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, "whole" and kaustós, "burnt")[2] also known as Shoah (Hebrew: השואה, HaShoah, "the catastrophe"; Yiddish: חורבן, Churben or Hurban, from the Hebrew for "destruction"), was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout the German Reich and German-occupied territories.[3]
Now, I have a degree in Jewish history with a focus on antisemitism, so spare me the usual babbling about sensitivity and worse. This is my area of expertise."

Oct. 18 2013 11:43 AM

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