12 Years a Slave - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

12 Years a Slave

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- It's a story that's been around for more than a century, and it all took place here in Cenla. News Channel 5's Rachael Penton tells us the story of the man behind 'Twelve Years a Slave.'

'Twelve Years a Slave'...it started as the memoir of a man named Solomon Northrup, and it hits the big screen Friday as a major motion picture.

"Solomon Northrup was a free man of color who was living in Saratoga, New York where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery," says Dr. Jerry Sanson, Professor of History and Political Science at LSUA.

After Northrup was sold in New Orleans he was brought right here to Central Louisiana.

"He lived here for twelve years and was owned by a total of three individuals," adds Sanson.

His final owner was a man named Edwin Epps, a plantation owner in Avoyelles Parish. Today a copy of the Epps House resides on LSUA's campus...where it will soon be transformed into a museum.

"The time is right with the movie coming out and all of the interest and we just finally decided hey now is the time to do an exhibit," says LSUA archivist Michelle Riggs.

It's the very house where Northrup once again became a free man.

"He was finally able to contact the governor of New York who sent an agent to secure his freedom," says Sanson.

And a man free to tell the story of his twelve years as a slave.

"it was a widely known work," says Riggs.

And although the movie was filmed in New Orleans, it's a story that was born here in Cenla.

"We have the comment that not much ever happens in Central Louisiana of historical importance and of course that's incorrect. This is a very important story that happened right here in Central Louisiana," adds Sanson.

The movie will be released in select cities tomorrow, and nationwide November 1st.

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