Jeff Sanders' Blog

Return to

Home > September 2017 > 12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

I have finally gotten around to reading the book "12 Years a Slave" by Solomon Northrup.  I have only seen snippets of the movie on I know why it earned an Oscar.  The book is mighty compelling.  It is a tale of horror and survival.  Solomon Northrup was a free black man living peacefully and comfortably with his wife and children in Saratoga New York.  He was hoodwinked into joining some entertainers who promised him a pretty good salary for those days. Tragically, they drugged him and he wound up chained in a Washington DC...on Pennsylania Avenue.  

He was forced onto a ship from Norfolk to New Orleans.  Along the way he met a number of other slaves, male and female, old and young.  The tale of Eliza is without a doubt one of the most heartwrenching and horrifying tales I have read.  She is on board the slave ship with her two young children, Randall and Emily.  While they are on the auction block in New Orleans, little Randall is sold to a master, but Eliza is left behind with Emily.  The scene in the book absolutely destroys me.  Just when I thought it could not get worse (and undoubtedly it does later in the book and the movie) I read this about another master buying the mother, but unable to buy little Emily to go along.  (The man owning the two will not sell little Emily because he knows she will get a higher price when she gets older.)  

"I have seen mothers kissing for the last time the faces of their dead offspring; I have seen them looking down into the grave, as the earth fell with a dull sound upon their coffins, hiding them from their eyes forever; but never have I seen such an exhibition of intense, unmeasured, and unbounded grief, as when Eliza was parted from her child.  She broke from her place in the line of women, and rushing dwon where Emily was standing, caught her in her arms.  The child, sensible of some impending danger, instinctively fastened her hands around her mother's neck, and nestled her little head upon her bosom.  Freeeman [the slave owner] sternly ordered her to be quiet, but she did not heed him.  He caught her by the arm and pulled her rudely, but she only clung the closer to the child.  Then, with a volley of great oaths, he struck her such a heartless blow, that she staggered backward, and was like to fall.  Oh! how did she beseech and beg and pray that they might not be separated.  Why could they not be purchased together?  Why not let her have one of her dear children?  'Mercy, mercy, master!' she cried, falling on her knees.  'Please, master, buy Emily.  I can never work any if she is taken from me: I will die.'

Emily was taken from her.  

Friday, September 29, 2017, 08:20 PM

Email to a Friend  |  Printer Friendly Page  |  Permalink | Comments

Bookmark and Share

Jeff Sanders' Bio


Past Posts

The Ghosts of Christmas Past--1776
Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (Part 2)
George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation
The Contributions of Luther's Reformation
The Valley of Vision
Why ISIS Lost in Syria and Iraq...For Now
Some Things I am Grateful For
Gettysburg National Park
12 Years A Slave

November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

Search this blog:

Copyright 2008 American Policy Roundtable