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Dear Dr. Hendricks,
I am writing to express my feeling in the last few days. The deep thought about what our fellow human beings are undergoing were made so precise to me when I read 'Twelve Years A Slave' by Solomon Northup. Our fight against slavery has never been better than it is today. Solomon has successfully depicted the true feelings and suffering of slaves in the hands of ruthless masters. Although he portrays his work as merely narration of personal experiences, it is clear that they are undergoing hell on earth. My happiness is amplified by the carefully crafted statements of Solomon. My dear fried, the accuracy of our crusade in implicit based on the works of this amazing literary work. There are several things which Northup managed to say about slavery in Louisiana. It represents chronicle of astonishing quagmire witnesses by a free American of African origin. After being kidnapped on the northern America, he was subjected to inhumane hardships of master in Louisiana. The narrative carried in this amazing book is a true reflection of what the innocent victims of slavery go through daily.
On my journey through the book, I encountered the compelling and detailed narration of one young man. I am sure beyond any reasonable doubt that this text will not be challenged by Southern apologists. One outstanding feature about the writer of this captivating narration is the ability to bring out remarkable account of what slavery community goes trough daily without lauding himself as an exemplary character. It simply narrates the story from the point of view of Solomon Northup. He managed to leave any assumptions and preconceptions through telling the story out of what he felt, thought, heard and witnessed. Since I started reading this book I could hardly put it down because precise feelings and thought of the narrators were too captivating to neglect. Indeed it is a compelling story.
I am extremely excited by the emotional stability of the majority of slaves. Even though they are aware that they are under manipulation of wrong hands, they live each day with a hope of being rescued. The kind of abolitionists you and I is what these folks need. When I learned about chronologically narrated life of Solomon, I realize that there is a lot to be done on the abolition of slavery. His experiences right from being a free man, slave and eventual struggle to overcome kidnappers' injustices is not only a detailed narrative but also horrifying. The strong will to fight against some specific masters reflects what this narrator and fellow slaves are experiencing. It is then implicit that our efforts coupled with this willingness will go a long way in attainment of the needed freedom.
Being an educated man he was, and subsequent delineation from the needed freedom is amicably narrated at the initial chapters of this amazing book. When the narrator is eventually plunged in to entangling cycle of slavery, tantalizing and horrible feelings is felt by the reader as he/she traverses the line of the book. Precise clarity of life characterized by forced labor in American South is quite discouraging especially for individuals living at such a time as this.
When I read this book for the first time, I cursed my self for having not read it before. Although the narrator himself does not sound to be moved while telling the story, detailed description experience in the hands of brutal masters was enough to startle me. We as abolitionists must rise to the occasion and realize that it is no one else's duty to fight against slavery but us. The ball of fighting slavery lie squarely on our court either we have the ability or not. Despite the fact that there are some underlying disagreements among us as abolitionists, we need to rise, shake off the dust and revisit the very ideologies which inspire us. The basic ideal of respect of humanity and fundamentals of human rights should guide our decision to take hard line positions. I am pretty much sure that our decision to take vehement position of abolitionism is guided by our overall empathy towards the suffering blacks. The moment we want to steal shows and make repute is the very point where we derail from fighting for the innocent victims of slavery.
I am excited that our abolitionary crusades have been echoed by Solomon in his carefully selected words in the 'Twelve Years A Slave'. A critical exegesis of this text will go help us in redefining our vision and mission as abolitionists. Solomon's experiences as a laborer in cotton farm should form the basis of our arguments as abolitionists. If we are indeed fighting to rescue these innocent people, our focus should go as deep as digging out initial stages of slavery. Before entering into slavery Solomon underwent challenges of recruitment and eventual transportation with naïve knowledge of what awaited him in expansive farms.
Our intention to abolish slavery without any form of compensation to owners is valid enough. Take a good example of Solomon's case who served in the master's field faithfully. Although there notable irony in his faithfulness and commitment to his chores, what remains constant is that he worked. Some critiques may argue that this is due to fear of violent attacks while others may say that it is due to Solomon's admirable character. Whatever inspired him, he and other slaves need to be set free.
Solomon's literary work is directly related to the anti-slavery crusades of John Quincy Adams. Although he is not an abolitionist like us, he abhors slavery like majority of abolitionists. His decision to take the position of an activist seems to be working well towards attainment of our goals. I hope that you are aware of his philanthropic acts geared towards abolition of slavery. I want to draw your attention to his recent vehement opposition of slavery after being appointed as the U.S. Representative. His activities in the House will surely bring down this monster called slavery (Davis and Mintz 1998). If such people as Quincy are on our side then we will surely triumph.
On my meditation about this book, I became convinced that our fight against slavery is soberly guided. All human begins are equal no matter the skin color and place of birth. Solomon's case reveals that a good section of masters believe that they are better individuals than others. They have been blinded by their economic might to believe that they are more of human beings than others. What is also coming out clear from this interesting story I read is the assumption of the status quo by some individuals. If we are to attain reasonable achievements on this fight against slavery, we need to start thinking 'outside the box'. From what the narrator says it is clear that some slaves are contented with their day to day oppression. Our crusade should then go beyond fighting masters' ideology, to empowering the slaves whose mindsets have been corrupted by long term demeaning encounters.
Allow me to draw your attention to some specific areas of hardship experienced by Solomon as I conclude this letter. On the twentieth page of this book, the narrator describes how much his father was supportive in the provision of good education and guidance despite challenging environments. Another experience I will not end this letter without mentioning to you is the one recorded in page number fifty five. This is the time when Solomon and other slaves were locked up in the cells. The narrator vividly describes how the cells door opened and who came in to the room. The kind of treatment they received from Burch and Radburn is intimidating despite being expected. The children who were in deep slumber were woken up with violent shake depicting the level of disrespect masters had on human beings. This is only mention but a few of what slaves are going through.
After reading this book, I am more motivated to fight slavery than ever before. It is with the same spirit of motivation that I recommend this book to your library. I am sure that if every abolitionist read this book with an open mind, we are going to achieve unprecedented success in ending slavery.
Yours Fellow Abolitionist,