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The almost forgotten story which took place largely in Avoyelles Parish before the Civil War hit the big screen last week.

 

Marksville is mentioned twice, and Cheneyville is mentioned once during the major motion picture just released of 12 Years a Slave.

 

 

Brad Pitt plays the part of Marksville carpenter Sam Bass who befriended Solomon Northup who was kidnapped into slavery for 12 years, with nine of those being in Avoyelles. Northup regained his freedom granted by Avoyelles judge Ralph Cushman, and returned to his home in New York. Northup wrote a best selling book about his slavery which was a best seller before the Civil War.

 

  In 1968, the mostly forgotten book was given new life by Bunkie resident Sue Lyles Eakin, who documented the places and people Northup mentioned to authenticate it as being real. Some critics felt the book was fiction before Eakin came along.

 

Last year the story was filmed in Jefferson Parish and the New Orleans area, and was released in over 100 theaters last weekend.

 

The Paragon Theatre in Marksville plans to show the film as soon as possible. 

 

The sheriff of Avoyelles is also depicted in the movie, but is not named. That sheriff at the time would have been G. P. Voorhies of Bayou des Glaises.

 

Reviewers of the movie agree that the its a brutal rendition.  But it has a happy ending, thanks to the Avoyelles Parish officials that righted the wrong of the New York kidnappers. 

 

To order Dr. Eakin's version of the book, visit:

http://www.thelouisianapurchase.net/

 

To order a version which contains illustrations and photos of some of the people and places mentioned in the book visit: Avoyelles Books

 

These and other books are available at: Shop Avoyelles