Descendant of Solomon Northup objects to building baseball park where '12 Years A Slave' subject's time in slavery began

By Daniel S Levine,

A descendant of Solomon Northup, whose book was the basis for 12 Years A Slave, is voicing opposition to a baseball park in a Richmond, Va. district where Northup’s journey as a slave began.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has proposed rebuilding the Shockoe Bottom district, which was once home to one of the busiest slave-trading posts in the country in the 19th Century. In 1841, Northup was taken there, drugged and sold into slavery. The infamous Lumpkin's slave jail, where Northup spent time at the start of his 12 years, was also located there, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

In hopes to revive the area, Jones wants to build a $56 million baseball complex for the local minor league team. Another $5 million will be used to build a slavery museum in the area. While the slave burial grounds will not be damaged, the plans would include destroying slave trading sites.

Despite plans for the museum, Linsey Williams, who claims to be a great great great great granddaughter of Northup, recently started a Change.org prition to put an end to the plans, notes WRIC.

“I think it's important to preserve these areas so that people can have the opportunity to go back and have that connection with their ancestors that went through those difficult times,” Williams said.

While some - including 114 people who signed Williams’ petition - are opposed to the plan, the Richmond Times-Dispatch recently wrote an op-ed supporting the plans.

The city council only has until May to approve of Jones’ budget, which includes the plan.

12 Years A Slave won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and was an adaptation of Northup’s book. He wrote about his 12 years in slavery, after being conned by two men.

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