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2014 Oscar nominees: History themed topics of slavery and scandal in American films

"12 Years a Slave" is based on real life events of slavery in America.

“12 Years a Slave” is based on real life events of slavery in America.

If you’re interested in American history and in movies, then you’ll love this year’s Oscar nominees. The list of nominees for best picture includes films based on a true story of slavery in America, a political scandal from the 1970s, the hijacking of an American vessel by Somali pirates and the downfall of a corrupt Wall Street stockbroker. Here’s a look at three of the stories to be found in the 2014 nominees for best picture.

12 Years a Slave

“12 Years a Slave,” based on the book of the same name, is the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who in 1841 was abducted and sold into slavery.

The text is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its electronic version is available for reading online. The book is the narrative of Solomon Northup’s experiences as a slave in pre-Civil War America. Read more

Congress honors Frederick Douglass, 19th century orator, statesman and abolitionist


To honor Frederick Douglass, President Obama recently signed into law a bill allowing the District of Columbia its first statue in the United States Capitol’s Emancipation Hall. The hall itself was named in 2007 in honor of the slaves who helped build the Capitol.

The fight to end slavery in America could not have found a more eloquent and vocal ally than Frederick Douglass, orator, statesman and abolitionist. In 1852, the leading citizens of Rochester, New York, where Douglass lived and published the abolitionist paper, The North Star, asked him to give a speech as part of their 4th of July celebrations. Douglass delivered a scathing attack on the institution of American slavery. Read more