12 Years a Slave

by

Solomon Northrup

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on 12 Years a Slave can help.

Henry B. Northup Character Analysis

Henry B. Northup, a white lawyer, is a longtime acquaintance of Solomon and the grandnephew of the man who freed Solomon’s father from slavery. He hears about Solomon’s situation from Solomon’s wife, Anne, after she catches wind of Solomon’s predicament from longtime acquaintances William Perry and Cephas Parker, who in turn heard of Solomon’s situation from Bass. Henry proves to be a faithful friend and skilled lawyer. He immediately takes on Solomon’s case and travels to Louisiana to find Solomon—not an easy task, considering that Solomon is exclusively known as Platt. He eventually frees Solomon, represents him in three court cases, and leads him back to New York.

Henry B. Northup Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by Henry B. Northup or refer to Henry B. Northup. 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 21 Quotes

The secret was out—the mystery was unraveled. Through the thick, black cloud, amid whose dark and dismal shadows I had walked twelve years, broke the star that was to light me back to liberty.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Bass, Henry B. Northup
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

I was then offered as a witness, but, objection being made, the court decided my evidence inadmissible. It was rejected solely on the ground that I was a colored man—the fact of my being a free citizen of New-York not being disputed. […] Burch himself was offered as a witness in his own behalf. It was contended by counsel for the people, that such testimony should not be allowed—that it was in contravention of every rule of evidence, and if permitted would defeat the ends of justice. His testimony, however, was received by the court!

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), James Burch, Henry B. Northup
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire 12 Years a Slave LitChart as a printable PDF.
12 Years a Slave PDF

Henry B. Northup Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character Henry B. Northup appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Family Theme Icon
...slavery but was freed upon the death of his master. Solomon notes that the lawyer Henry B. Northup , who eventually saved Solomon himself from slavery, is a relative of Mintus’s former master. (full context)
Chapter 5
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...clear, Solomon follows Manning into one of the rooms and quickly writes a letter to Henry B. Northup , explaining his situation. When the ship docks in New Orleans, Manning immediately sends the... (full context)
Chapter 21
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...the men immediately forward it to Anne. Upon receiving the letter, Anne brings it to Henry B. Northup to ask for his help. During his research, Northup discovers “an act providing for the... (full context)
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
For Solomon’s case to be accepted and aided by the Governor, Henry B. Northup must prove that Solomon is a free citizen of New York and that Solomon is... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Henry B. Northup leaves New York in December. He first stops in Washington D.C., where he receives written... (full context)
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Since the letter made mention of Bayou Boeuf, Henry B. Northup and Waddill plan to begin their search there, though the area is expansive and home... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Waddill asks Henry B. Northup about Northern politics and tells Northup that he only knows one abolitionist in the area,... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Christianity Theme Icon
After many inquiries pertaining to Bass’s whereabouts, Young Waddill and Henry B. Northup find Bass and confront him about the letter. At first, Bass is standoffish, claiming the... (full context)
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...Waddill convinces the sheriff and judge to act immediately. With the judge’s signature in hand, Henry B. Northup and the sheriff depart for Epps’ plantation by carriage shortly after midnight. (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...arrives at Epps’ plantation right as Epps goes inside the house to find a whip. Henry B. Northup and the sheriff walk to the cotton fields, where the sheriff asks the slaves which... (full context)
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...Solomon was a free man, since he painstakingly hid his true identity from them. Meanwhile, Henry B. Northup , the sheriff, and Solomon make their way to Epps’ house to finalize Solomon’s freedom.... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Henry B. Northup and the sheriff speak with Epps and read their legal documents proving Solomon’s right to... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...vows to bring “bloody and savage vengeance” upon whomever wrote the letter. He also tells Henry B. Northup that if he had just an hour of advanced notice that Northup was coming, he... (full context)
Chapter 22
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Solomon and Henry B. Northup board a steamboat for New Orleans, and Solomon can’t keep himself from dancing around the... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
After a long journey by train and another steamboat, Solomon and Henry B. Northup arrive in Washington D.C., where they immediately go to the police to file a complaint... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...the two white men to defraud him.” Solomon is arrested and brought to court with Henry B. Northup as his lawyer. In the middle of the court procession, Burch drops the charges. Solomon... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Henry B. Northup and Solomon reach New York in late January. When Solomon enters his family’s home, his... (full context)