12 Years a Slave – Articles of Interest

Unless you have been out-of-touch since Sunday, you have heard the news that 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. If you read my thoughts on the movie when it came out that should come as no surprise. It is probably the best Hollywood movie ever dealing with slavery, essentially because it told Solomon Northup’s story largely straight (unlike Django Unchained‘s silly revenge fantasy the year before).  Lupita Nyong’o won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, although Chiwetal Ejiofor (Lead Actor) and Michael Fassbender (Supporting Actor) didn’t win in their categories. But the film also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Not surprisingly, a flurry of articles have appeared on the film since Sunday to feed the public’s renewed interest in 12 Years A Slave since its Oscar triumph. As a public service to the Civil War Emancipation readership, here is annotated list of some of the most worthwhile of them.

Manisha Sinha, “The untold history beneath ’12 Years,” New York Daily News [Sinha discusses how Northup’s case was just one of many kidnappings of northern free blacks into southern slavery before the Civil War.]

Peter Peveto, “Historian Mentioned at Oscars for Work,” The Advocate [Discusses the role of Louisiana historian, Sue Eakin, who back in the 1960s verified the basic veracity of Northup’s account in historical records.

Joseph Stromberg, “How the New York Times covered ’12 Years a Slave’s’ Solomon Northup in 1853,” Salon [Discusses the New York Times coverage of Northup’s case in the wake of his rescue from slavery.]

John Horn, “Oscars: ’12 Years a Slave’ puts spotlight on Hollywood’s approach to race,” Los Angeles Times [Story on the film winning the Best Picture Oscar in the larger context of Hollywood and race.]

If there is a particularly good story released on the film since it won the Best Picture Oscar missing, please let me know so I can add it to this list.

About Donald R. Shaffer

Donald R. Shaffer is the author of _After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans_ (Kansas, 2004), which won the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2005. More recently he published (with Elizabeth Regosin), _Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files_ (2008). Dr. Shaffer teaches online exclusively (i.e., a virtual professor). He lives in Arizona and can be contacted at donald_shaffer@yahoo.com
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