Avoyelles Parish honoring Solomon Northup with a statue
AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The Solomon Northup Commemorative Committee announced that they are setting up a fund for a statue that will pay tribute to Northup, who was illegally sold into slavery after living as a free man for 30 years.
The statue will sit in the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse square.
While enslaved, Northup spent 12 years in Central Louisiana, and the people in Avoyelles Parish are working to keep his name alive.
Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle is a member of the committee, and he said this statue is especially important to Avoyelles, because the Parish helped Northup regain his freedom after he was unjustly enslaved.
“I think nationally it is going to be recognized as a place to observe, because Marksville and Avoyelles Parish helped establish the freedom of a man who should not have been enslaved and if you think about it, at the time slavery was legal, immoral, but legal, and at the same time, the justice system worked to free him. That should be a symbol of freedom I think people will respect,” Riddle said.
Wesley Wofford is the sculptor who has been hired for the project. Wofford is spending time in Avoyelles, getting a feel for the area and taking input from citizens. The North Carolina artist shared that his goal is to capture the essence of Northup’s life and what he means to the area.
“I do not have a preconceived idea. I do have a preconceived idea that his perseverance is an unimaginable story,” explained Wofford. “It is no different than if you or I were kidnapped tonight, and so him having the perseverance that he had to protect the free person that he was, was admirable, so I hope to capture that.
After being released, Northup returned to New York, where he wrote his famous memoir “12 Years a Slave.”
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