SOLOMON NORTHUP
DAY


- A Community Celebration -


This event founded in 1999, includes an art exhibition, book display, and other historical and educational programs about Solomon Northup history, the abolitionist movement, the underground railroad and local African-American history and culture. Historians, academia, clergy and performers with a mid-program reception are apart of this educational program.

Additionally, this celebration also takes place in Plattsburgh, NY on an alternative date in conjunction with the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association.

More information about Solomon Northup can be obtained through the following:
  • Mr. Northup's autobiography, Twelve Years A Slave, forward by Sue Eakin.
  • Anyone wishing to learn more about the history of Solomon Northup or this event should contact, Renee Moore, Founder. Anyone wishing to participate in the planning of this event may contact Renee at (518) 596-4329, www.solomonnorthupday.com
  • the Library of Congress Bicentennial "Local Legacies" Project http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/legacies/NY/200003387.html.
  • the Gordon Parks docudrama, The Odyssey of Solomon Northup, 1984, starring Avery Brooks
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, inventor and violinist who played at the United States Hotel and worked as a Hack in the City of Saratoga Springs. Mr. Northup was abducted [it was common for free Blacks to be abducted into slavery during antebellum time], held in a slave pen in Washington City [now Washington, DC] and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before being rescued and regaining his freedom. Citizens of Saratoga Springs, Sandy Hill (Hudson Falls) 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 July of 1853 about his ordeal. It is believed he traveled throughout the region selling his autobiography and speaking out against slavery and it is believed he 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.

This 15th year, July 20, 2013, the event took place at Filene Hall, Skidmdore College, received international attention and was attended by more than 50 descendants some of whom were meeting each other for the first time . Film actresss Lupita Nyong'o appeared and spoke about how attending this event gave even more meaning to her role in the film. Regency Films and FoxSearchlight premiered segments of the film directed by Steve McQueen from the UK and produced by Brad Pitt, Twelve Years a Slave due for release October 18.
  • In 2007, The U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Network to Freedom project inducted "Solomon Northup Day a Celebration of Freedom" program into their national network.
  • 2006 Diversity Scholarship Award: The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, DC.
  • 2003 Recognition from Smithsonian Institution, Anacostia Museum, Washington, DC.
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 Visitor Center commemorating Mr. Northup's life created by Renee Moore, and Lillian B. Horne, of Albany. 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 [along with Maryanne Fitzgerald, City Historian] were honored at a reception in the Library of Congress (LOC) Great Hall, Washington, DC. The story of Mr. Northup is now apart of the permanent archives of The Library of Congress 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, in 2002, the Saratoga Springs City Council approved "Solomon Northup Day" as the third Saturday in July.

Page revised September 26, 2013, with text submitted by Renee Moore.