City Hall - 474 Broadway

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-2296

(518) 587-3550

NOTE: This is the original press release announcing Solomon Northup Day in 2006. Some of the scheduling and contact information given in this release have since then been changed. The incorrect information is indicated by strike-through characters. Current scheduling and contact information is available on our page SNorthupnow.htm


- A Community Celebration -

The annual Solomon Northup Day is held the third saturday in July at the Saratoga Springs Urban Heritage Park Visitor Center, 518-587-3241.

The entire community is welcome to participate.

This event includes an art exhibition, book display, and other historical and educational information on the underground railroad and local community history. Entertainment and a mid-program reception are also part of this community celebration.

This day is a multicultural, interfaith event centered in African-American history. More information about Solomon Northup can be obtained through the following:

  • the Saratoga Springs History Museum, Canfield Casino, Congress Park
  • the Library of Congress Bicentennial "Local Legacies" Project
  • the Gordon Parks film, The Odyssey of Solomon Northup starring Avery Brooks
  • Mr. Northup's autobiography, Twelve Years A Slave

Renee Moore founded and directs this annual event. Anyone wishing to participate in the organization of this event may contact Renee at (518) 587-8978.

This project is now a part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress Bicentennial "Local Legacies Project".

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Minerva, New York, July 1808. Solomon was a literate man who worked on the Champlain Canal, was a carpenter and inventor. While working as a cabbie and violinist in Saratoga Springs, he was abducted, held in a slave pen in Washington, DC, and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before regaining his freedom. Citizens of Saratoga Springs and surrounding areas were instrumental in arranging for Solomon's release in 1853 and return to Saratoga.

Mr. Northup published his autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave, in 1853 about his ordeal. It is believed he traveled throughout the region selling his book and speaking out against slavery and was himself an abolitionist. Although Mr. Northup sought to bring his captors to trial, they were never prosecuted and he mysteriously disappeared. To date, his burial site has not been identified and it is not known whether or not he was killed, re-captured, or died of natural causes.

In 1999, former Mayor J. Michael O'Connell proclaimed Solomon Northup Day and an historical marker was placed at the corner of Congress and Broadway along with an exhibit panel inside the Heritage Park Visitor Center commemorating Mr. Northup's life. At this event, approximately 40 Northup family descendants from four states, including matriarch Victoria Northup Linzy Dunham, age 90.

On May 23, 2000 as part of the Bicentennial Local Legacies project, Ms. Moore and other Americans were honored at a reception in the Library of Congress (LOC) Great Hall, Washington, DC. A display on Solomon Northup Day is now a the LOC as a permanent part of the Folklife Center. These projects are documented for their merit and contribution to the community and are featured as a testament to the uniqueness of our nation and to the pride of its citizens in their heritage.

Under the leadership of former Mayor Kenneth Klotz, the Saratoga Springs City Council approved "Solomon Northup Day" as a permanent annual event of diversity, culture and celebration for the City of Saratoga Springs, New York.

The Historical Society of Saratoga Springs, under the direction of Jamie Parillo, Executive Director, installed an exhibition on Solomon Northup History and Solomon Northup Day - A Celebration of Freedom. This annual event takes place at the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center and is the 1st time an African-American has been honored in Saratoga Springs.