After 161 years, paper corrects name of man who inspired 12 Years a Slave

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 10:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 10:22pm


The New York Times has printed a correction for misspelling 161 years ago the name of a black man who was sold into slavery and whose memoirs were turned into the Oscar-winning movie 12 Years a Slave.

In an article on January 20, 1853, Solomon Northup's surname was written as Northrop and as Northrup.

The paper corrected Northup's name on Tuesday, after the errors were pointed out by someone looking at its archives.

Northup was a free man, born in New York, who was kidnapped and sold as a slave in 1841. He spent the next dozen years in Louisiana before regaining his freedom.

"The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives," the newspaper explained, while noting that, "the errors notwithstanding", it had described its account as "a more complete and authentic record than has yet appeared".

12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for best picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup and Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey, another slave. Nyong'o won the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse