12 Years a Slave: Who was Solomon Northup? There were always those who claimed Northup's tale was an exaggeration, written as anti-slavery propaganda. "After he was freed, there is documentation of his attempt to secure legal redress against his kidnappers. It was a bitter experience for him because in the nation's capital, Washington DC, Solomon's colour meant he wasn't allowed to testify. So the court case got nowhere but the paperwork is now a big help to historians."