Epps House Cabin and Historical Marker, Solomon Northup
Constructed in 1852 and moved to the LSU Alexandria campus in 1999, this home was originally built by Solomon Northup while he was enslaved to Edwin Epps. The story of Solomon Northup's capture and enslavement became the subject of the book and Hollywood movie "12 Years a Slave." Northup built this home with his owner Edwin Epps and carpenter Samuel Bass at Bayou Boeuf near Holmesville. Bass and Northup became friends during the construction of the home which led Solomon Northup to entrust him with the story of his kidnapping. Bass helped prove that Northup had been a free man in New York and Northup was freed the following year. The structure was moved to another location in 1976 before being carefully deconstructed, moved, and reconstructed here thanks to the efforts of history professor Dr. Sue Eakin. to serve as a historical landmark on the campus.
Backstory and Context
Understanding that Epps would either not believe or simply refuse to free Northup, Samuel Bass and Solomon Northup were careful to document Northup's illegal capture and involve Northups family, northern abolitionists, the media, and the courts prior to notifying Epps that Solomon Northup was a free man. Epps learned of Northup's status in this cabin.
Northup tells of his experience being owned by Epps in his 1853 book Twelve Years A Slave. The book became a best-seller and supported the growing abolitionist sentiment of the 1850s. The story of Solomon Northup has been unsed in countless American classrooms thanks to historians who use the book as a primary source as well as the 1984 documentary "Solomon Northup's Odyssey" and the 2013 Hollywood film "12Years A Slave."