A new movie and book continues to haunt me after reading "12 Years a Slave" and viewing the current movie by the same title. This is the honest biography of Solomon Northup, originally written in 1853.

America practiced the buying and selling of human beings for 246 years. It took a half million lives to finally settle the question of this evil in our most costly war.

Solomon Northup was a free man who lived with his family in New York state. He was kidnapped, sold into slavery and forced into the cotton and cane fields of Louisiana. His kidnappers put him in chains and destroyed his records under the name of Pratt. 

The New York Times calls "12 Years of Slavery" "the most unsparing, unsentimental depiction of American slavery ever filmed." The violence of the slave whip and torture seeps into our soul. 

The film is not just brilliant. It is a necessary masterpiece, even for today.

- John Wolf, Valparaiso