Original Proposal – 12 Years A Slave, the 1853 autobiography of a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington DC in 1841 and sold into slavery, which became a famous part of the Abolitionist Movement – Feb 12th


Ellen Birrell and her husband, Jim Hutchins, were stalwarts of Reading Liberally during its first 2-3 years of existence, whereupon they "pulled up stakes" the end of 2008 to sail the world on their yacht, Boldly Go.

They are in town for other matters but will attend our Feb 12th meeting.

Since Ellen and Jim still have so many friends in the area (for example, Ellen was on the Board of the Salt Lake County Democrats), it is respectfully requested that anyone planning to come on Feb 12th RSVP so we know how many “fatted calves” to kill for our post-meeting celebration of Ellen and Jim joining us (traditional fruit pizza and the first round of drinks at Cannella’s on John Karls), and whether to request the library to provide a meeting room for more than 20.

Simply e-mail ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com with "I will attend Feb 12th (with guest(s) John Doe (and Jane Roe))."


The movie version of 12 Years A Slave won the 2014 Golden Globe for Best Picture and on Jan 16, it received 9 Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

The movie is based on the autobiography of/by Solomon Northrup which is available from your local library or from Amazon.com for $6.99 + shipping - 152 pages.

"12 Years A Slave" is the 1853 autobiography of a free black man who had been both a husband and father until he was kidnapped in Washington DC in 1841 and sold into slavery.

The autobiography became famous immediately and was a center-piece of the Abolitionist Movement leading to the Civil War.

It is important in painting a realistic picture of slavery.

NOT the "Gone With The Wind" happy servants of friendly masters!!!

BUT RATHER the treatment of slaves as work animals who could be (and frequently were) raped or tortured or killed at will and whose families were routinely ripped apart as children and spouses were sold to other slave masters on distant plantations!!!

Further information, including a PBS Newshour interview of John Ridley, the script-writer for the movie, are contained in the Original Proposal which is posted in this section.
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