Solomon Northup’s 12-year journey back to freedom after being kidnapped into slavery in 1841 spans the central Louisiana parishes of Rapides and Avoyelles. Part of the Louisiana Byways Program, this 83-mile trail provides visitors with an immersive experience of historical proportions.
Originally from New York, Northup was lured with the promise of playing his violin at a traveling circus. But he was captured, drugged, and sold at a Washington, D.C., slave auction to traders in New Orleans, who subsequently sold him to a plantation owner in central Louisiana.
The trail showcases many sites remembered by Northup in his 1853 memoir, 12 Years a Slave, which was adapted into a film that won three Oscars in 2014. The trail has more than 20 stops, including several that are privately owned and not open to the public or are available by appointment only. Plan for at least a couple of days to grasp and reflect upon Northup’s compelling story.