Half Slave, Half Free is the reissue title for African-American director Gordon Parks' TV movie Solomon Northup's Odyssey. Based on the autobiography Twelve Years a Slave, the film relates the story of Solomon Northup, a black freedman who, in 1841, was kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into slavery. Avery Brooks stars as Northup, having spent a dozen years' servitude in Louisiana before managing his escape. Northup's own written words bespeak a rebellious spirit not far removed from the firebrand freedom fighters of the '60s. Curiously, director Parks downplays this in favor of sentimentality. Under its original title, Half Slave, Half Free was originally telecast December 10, 1984, on PBS.
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