SOLOMON NORTHUP DAY – A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM Event History: Solomon Northup was born a free man in Minerva, NY, July 1808. Solomon was a literate man who worked on the Champlain Canal, was a carpenter and inventor. While working as a cabbie and violinist in Saratoga Springs, he was kidnapped, held in a slave pen in Washington, DC and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before regaining his freedom. Citizens of Saratoga and surrounding areas were instrumental in arranging for Solomon’s release in 1853 and return to Saratoga. Mr. Northup published his autobiography Twelve Years A Slave in 1853 about his ordeal. It is believed he traveled throughout the region selling his book and speaking out against slavery and was himself an abolitionist. Although Mr. Northup sought to bring his captors to trail, they were never prosecuted and he mysteriously disappeared. To date, his burial site has not been identified and it is not known whether or not he was killed, re-captured or died of natural causes. In 1999, an historical marker at the corner of Congress and Broadway marks this spot and an exhibit panel inside the Heritage Park Visitor Center commemorating his life. At this event approximately 40 Northup Family descendants from four different states, including matriarch Victoria Northup Linzy Dunham, age 90, were honored in Saratoga Springs at this event. A city proclamation was written proclaiming the day by former Mayor J. Michael O’Connell.
On May 23, 2000 as part of the Bicentennial Local Legacies project, other Americans and I were honored at a reception in Great Hall, Library of Congress (LOC), Washington, DC. A display on Solomon Northup Day is now at the LOC as a permanent part of the Folklife Center. These projects are documented for their merit and contribution to the community and are featured as a testament to the uniqueness of our nation and to the pride of its citizens in their heritage. In July 2000, The Historical Society of Saratoga Springs under Jamie Parillo, Executive Director, installed an exhibition on Solomon Northup History and Solomon Northup Day - A Celebration of Freedom. This annual event takes place each year at the Heritage Park Visitor Center and is the first time an African-American has been honored in Saratoga Springs.
In 2001, descendants again participated along with various clergy, legislative members from different political parties, faculty and staff from two local colleges, historians, children storytelling, and current Mayor Ken Klotz (D ) read his proclamation. This event attracts culturally diverse citizens from throughout Saratoga County and beyond.
The 2002 event took place on Saturday,July 20, and featured historian, David Fiske, will present new information uncovered in his research on Mr. Northup’s life, Professor Corky Reinhart, noted historian on African-American history made a presentation on the life and times of Isaac Johnson. Professor Tim Harper of Skidmore College moderated a panel discussion on current freedom and justice issues with panelists Professor Mason Stokes, Alice Green, Ph.D. Executive Director, Center for Law and Justice and Albany businessman Michael Terry. Dr. Celia Sanz Executive Director, Centro Civico, Albany spoke on historical and cultural issues with regard to the Hispanic community. Children’s story telling by griot Sweet Mama Stringbean, classical guitar selections by John Charles Cook, Er-Hu player, Frank X. Wang performed and told the history of this ancient Chinese instrument, gospel and jazz by The Jimmy Daggs Quartet, and a historical enactment of Solomon and Ann Hampton Northup portrayed by Cliff Oliver and Michele Barcomb rounded off the event. A Freedom and Justice Art Exhibition by the Saratoga Arts Council, Art in Public Spaces project, at the Saratoga Public Library and a book display of Solomon Northup’s autobiography Twelve Years A Slave at Borders Books on going throughout July. Northup family descendants attended and Cong. John E. Sweeney, Assemblyman Roy McDonald; Senators H. Clinton and Schumer were also invited. This event continues to grow each year with greater diversity and participation. This year, City Council voted and approved Solomon Northup Day as a permanent day, third Saturday in July, for the City of Saratoga Springs. This annual event, Solomon Northup Day- A Celebration of Freedom, can be viewed on the Library Of Congress web site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/bicentennial/propage/NY/ny_22_h_sweeney2.html and the City of Saratoga Springs web site: www.saratoga-springs.org/northup1 Also featured in Urban Voices newspaper August/September issue 2002
In 2003, the event took place July 19, 2003 11:00 -3:00 pm at the Urban Heritage Park Visitor Center Corner of Congress and Broadway
In 2016, Solomon Northup Day was a Tri-City event with Old Fort House Museum of Fort Edward, Schroon Lake Historical Society and the Noarth Country Underground Railroad Historical Association (NCUGRHA) in Plattsburgh. The events are not held in Plattsburgh as part of the North Star Museum by the NCUGRHA.
Location: , Plattsburgh, New York
Contact Person: Renee Moore
Contact Information: 518-596-4329 (main phone) / firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Renee Moore