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Common Reading for Fall 2014

Twelve Years a SlaveDuring orientation, on Friday, August 29 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. you will be joining your orientation group and a faculty member to discuss the common reading. The book discussion during orientation is a way to begin creating an intellectual community among your peers and bring new students into discussion around a topic of social, scientific, artistic or political significance. Justice is a value at the core of a Hampshire College education and this year we have selected Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup to provide a lens into racial justice.

Twelve Years a Slave is a memoir originally published in 1853 and recently developed into a film. It tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man until he was kidnapped in Washington DC and sold into slavery in 1841.

Northup's memoir provides a vivid depiction of his kidnapping, enslavement on a Louisiana cotton plantation, and his liberation and return to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. twelve years later.

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