Last week I had the opportunity to attend the screening of the most brutal, gut wrenching, and emotionally overwhelming film I’ve ever seen in my 53 years. 12 Years a Slave is British director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of a memoir by the same name, written 160 years ago by Solomon Northup. Northup was a freeman who lived in New York. He was tricked, drugged, kidnapped, taken to New Orleans, and made a slave.
Northup’s story is one-of-a-kind because it is told by the victim of the slave condition himself. This first-person perspective makes the condition impossible to sanitize. One woman in the theatre could be heard weeping through half the movie. Whites and Blacks alike were in tears by the time the viewing was over.