Kidnapped! Black New Yorkers Caught in the Slave Trade

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Author David Fiske is set to give lecture on Free blacks from New York State who were kidnapped and sold into slavery before the Civil War has been set for July 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm at the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History, 3754 Main Street.

In “Kidnapped! Black New Yorkers Caught in the Slave Trade,” Fiske will tell the stories of several New Yorkers who were kidnap victims – some from upstate communities and others from New York City.

Fiske has researched Solomon Northup and others who were kidnapped and sold into slavery. The story of Northup, who was born in Essex County and later lived in Washington, Saratoga and Warren Counties, was the basis of the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

Before the Civil War, free blacks were at risk of losing their liberty at any time. They were sometimes lured from the safety of their hometowns with the intention of being sold as slaves. When taken to a slave state, their chances of returning home were small. But some victims, like Northup, were rescued, and their kidnappers were sometimes held accountable for their deeds. Economics and governmental actions made such crimes profitable, and many citizens of free states were victimized.

David Fiske co-authored the book, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave, and followed that up with another book, Solomon Northup’s Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War. Copies of both titles will be available for purchase at the event.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a seat (though walk-ins are allowed), call (518) 623-3011.

Illustration: Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a Slave.

A version of this article first appeared on the Adirondack Almanack.

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