4 Questions With Decendent of 12 Years A Slave’s Solomon Northup

February 26, 2014

Chiwetel-Ejiofor-as-Solomon-Northup-in-Steve-McQueenss-12-Years-a-SlaveWith the Oscars just a few days away on March 2nd at 7 pm, our friends at WNYC and PRI’s The Takeaway examines the real story behind 12 Years A Slave that has inspired this year’s Best Picture nominations. Host John Hockenberry sits down with Clayton Adams, the great-great-great-grandson of Solomon Northup, whose memoir inspired the film 12 Years a Slave, to discuss what the film and Northup’s memoir meant to Adams and his family. Adams also imagines what he might say if he were to accept the Best Picture Oscar in this poignant and touching interview.

Some excerpts from the interview:

Clayton Adams imagines would say if he were to accept an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave:

“Thank you Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, the entire cast, Michael, everybody, for being able to bring my great-great-great grandfather’s story to life, to be able to educate the entire world. His perseverance, his love, his faith has been handed down from generation to generation and I just want Solomon Northup to be proud of his dependence as we are of him.”

Adams on how his daughter is continuing the legacy of Solomon Northup, who was violinist:

“I taught her about Solomon Northup at the age of four, five years old. So when she got the opportunity in fourth grade to choose what instrument she wanted to play, she picked the violin because she wanted to make her grandfather proud.

Adams on what he wins if the film wins an Oscar:

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“I have already won just being able, as I stated before, one of the fortunate African Americans to be able to trace their history back all the way to the 1800’s…having Solomon Northup’s story which was left out of American history, not just African American history but American history for going on 200 years now, I mean that in itself is pride enough that his story is finally being told worldwide. It’s already bigger than any statue.

Adams on his experience seeing 12 Years a Slave:

“I saw the movie three times, it took me three times just to be able to stay to the end to actually see the ending”

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