"Having been born a freeman, and for more than thirty years enjoyed the blessings of liberty in a free State--and having at the end of that time been kidnapped and sold into Slavery, where I remained, until happily rescued in the month of January, 1853, after a bondage of twelve years--it has been suggested that an account of my life and fortunes would not be uninteresting to the public."
"Oh, how heavily the weight of slavery pressed upon me then. I must toil day after day, endure abuse and taunts and scoffs, sleep on the hard ground, live on the coarsest fare, and not only this, but live the slave of a blood-seeking wretch, of whom I must stand henceforth in continued fear and dread....I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman's chain was round me, and could not be shaken off. I could only gaze wistfully towards the North, and think of the thousands of miles that stretched between me and the soil of freedom, over which a black freeman may not pass."
"I looked in the direction indicated, and as my eyes rested on his countenance, a world of images thronged my brain .... all the friends of other and happier days, appeared and disappeared .... until at last the perfect memory of the man recurred to me, and throwing up my hands toward Heaven, I exclaimed, "Henry B. Northup! Thank God--thank God!" In an instant I comprehended the nature of his business, and felt that the hour of my deliverance was at hand."
Solomon Northup's eloquent and moving narrative of his life speaks for itself. His story is powerful, haunting, and unforgettable. I've never see the movie version of his life, but I'm so glad I read this book. It counts as my Nonfiction Classic for Karen's Back to the Classics Reading Challenge.