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David Fiske  

Expert on life of Solomon Northup

David Fiske is a researcher and writer who has studied various topics in American History. Most notably, he has documented the life of Solomon Northup, the real-life person whose story was told in the Oscar-winning film "12 Years a Slave." He co-authored "Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave," and followed up on the topic of kidnapping with his book "Solomon Northup's Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War." His work in this area has been recognized by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who has said "Fiske's efforts to document these victims and the crimes that robbed them of their families and freedom are heroic indeed and should be applauded."

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Rescued from Slavery: The Real Story of Solomon Northup from 12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup was a free black man living in New York State. In 1841 he was lured away from home and sold as a slave. For nearly twelve years, he was a slave in Louisiana. Finally he was able to get a message to friends in New York, and he returned home as a free man. After writing a book about his experiences, he traveled around the Northeast giving speeches, and even helped fugitive slaves get to Canada thanks to his work on the Underground Railroad. Presenter David Fiske is a co-author of Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave.

Anne Northup, Wife of Solomon Northup from 12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup was lured into slavery in 1841, and was a slave in Louisiana for 12 years before being rescued. What impact did Northup’s kidnapping have on his wife and family? This presentation will describe how his wife, Anne, carried on in his absence, and had her own career as a hotel chef. Presenter David Fiske is a co-author of Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave.

Free Citizens Kidnapped into Slavery before the Civil War

The film 12 Years a Slave told of Solomon Northup’s kidnapping and enslavement before the Civil War, but Northup’s victimization was not an isolated incident. Economics and governmental actions made such crimes profitable, and many citizens, primarily free blacks, were victimized. This presentation will explain how kidnappers could operate with relative ease, and tell about several of the victims included in David Fiske's book, Solomon Northup's Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War.

Kidnapped. Black New Yorkers Caught in the Slave Trade

Under slavery, it was not only the slaves who suffered. Free blacks were at risk of being kidnapped and sold as slaves. Once they were taken to a slave state, their chances of returning home were small. Several New Yorkers, from various parts of the state, were rescued from slavery, and their kidnappers were held accountable for their deeds. Presenter David Fiske is the author of Solomon Northup's Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War.

The Black America Show: When the Plantation Came to Brooklyn

After exposing the public to a huckstered version of life in the West--via his Wild West Show--Nate Salsbury initiated a new production in 1895 called Black America. Black America set out not merely to entertain, but to educate the public about the lives blacks had led in the antebellum south. Though the show included some acts that were not typical elements of plantation life--juggling, tight-rope walking, and drills by black cavalry troops--it also featured a village with over 100 cabins where blacks portrayed activities such as picking cotton, operating cotton gins, itinerant preaching, and socializing. Among the singing and dancing performances were examples of black culture that had developed under slavery, as well as newer creations. Show business considerations, as well as stereotypical thinking, resulted in the inclusion of minstrel songs, cakewalks, and tap dancing, but Salsbury's original purpose for creating the show was largely one of public education, and the Black America Show was less exploitative than other contemporary productions. It gave many African-Americans a foot in the door for careers in show business, and increased public awareness of their many skills and talents. Black America had runs in Brooklyn and several other U.S. cities.

News


An Escape From Slavery, Now a Movie, Has Long Intrigued Historians

In an interview by phone on Friday, David A. Fiske — who recently joined Clifford W. Brown Jr. and Rachel Seligman in writing “Solomon Northup: The Complete ...

Mystery surrounds where '12 Years a Slave' author is buried | Fox ...

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