New York Times corrects original 1853 report on Solomon Northup of '12 Years A Slave'

By Daniel S Levine,

The New York Times is known for correcting errors, but correcting one that has stood for over 160 years is a stretch even for the Times. Yet, after one Twitter user noted that an original story about Solomon Northup, the subject of 12 Years A Slave, misspelled Northup’s name, the paper went back and fixed it.

Northup was a free black man from New York who played violin. He was conned into slavery in 1841 and not freed until 1853. He chronicled his story in a memoir and was the subject of a Times story called “The Kidnapping Case.”

NBC News notes that the story was brought to the Internet’s attention by author Rebecca Skloot. She linked to the story on Twitter Monday and noted how “Northup” was misspelled two different ways - “Northrop” and “Northrup.” Skloot then saw that the Times had actually made the correction and published it in Tuesday’s paper.

The correction cited a Twitter user for bringing it to their attention.

Ironically, Skloot later noted on Twitter that she often makes mistakes herself. “The irony, of course, is that I'm a terrible speller and proofreader,” she wrote.

12 Years A Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture, as well as best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o).

image courtesy of image.net



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