Solomon Northup’s Singing Book
African American Review
This essay examines the musical score included at the end of Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave (1853), a setting of a song called “Roaring River” that Northup earlier recounted enslaved people singing as they patted juba. I argue that “Roaring River” stages questions that the narrative itself cannot ask about how to represent the experience of slavery once one is outside of it. In particular, it asks how to love what’s made in the shadow of slavery—the intimacies forged, and especially the music borne of them.
Lara Langer Cohen.
"Solomon Northup’s Singing Book".
African American Review.