Do you want to bring a historic period or event to life? Let Hollywood help. 12 Years a Slave is the only rated R movie I show. It is a film that follows the life of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Solomon Northup wrote and published his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave (1853). The book was written in three months with the help of David Wilson, a local writer and journalist. Published by Derby & Miller of Auburn, New York In the period when questions of slavery generated debate and the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe was a bestseller, Northup's book sold 30,000 copies within three years, also becoming a bestseller. Students will find this film and the treatment of African-Americans strange, brutal, and so far removed from the world they live in today. They will also become keenly aware of the courage and bravery it took to survive during this period of history. As your students get to know the characters, you will have many opportunities to make many connections and/or refer back to their stories.
This lesson includes a movie review, an answer key, and 37 questions (answered over three days - 50 minute classes) that guide your students through the action. You will have to purchase the movie.
If you purchase this activity, I can also send you an editable link so you can edit and revise this activity to meet your specific needs. You can also contact me for support or collaboration.
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