12 Years a Slave


Solomon Northup

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Ebenezer Radburn Character Analysis

Radburn works with James Burch at the slave pen in Washington D.C., where Solomon first wakes up in chains after being drugged and kidnapped. Radburn’s attempts at sympathy for Solomon are flimsy, though he reinforces to Solomon that it is safer to stay quiet about his identity as a kidnapped free man. He is later brought to court with Burch by Solomon but is deemed innocent.

Ebenezer Radburn Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by Ebenezer Radburn or refer to Ebenezer Radburn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Graymalkin Media edition of 12 Years a Slave published in 2014.
Chapter 4 Quotes

So we passed, hand-cuffed and in silence, through the streets of Washington—though the Capital of a nation, whose theory of government, we are told, rests on the foundation of man’s inalienable right to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness! Hail! Columbia, happy land indeed!

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Ebenezer Radburn
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ebenezer Radburn Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character Ebenezer Radburn appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...revealing two white men—the infamous, cruel slave dealer named James Burch, and his assistant, Ebenezer Radburn. Solomon notes that Burch’s “whole appearance was sinister and repugnant.” Solomon also notes in hindsight... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Burch orders Radburn to retrieve the paddle and whip, and Burch proceeds to beat and whip Solomon severely,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
The Power of Music Theme Icon
One night, close to midnight, Burch and Radburn order the slaves to get up and follow them through the dark city. The slaves... (full context)