Director Steve McQueen could be clutching an Oscar on March 2 for his searing film 12 Years a Slave, but in the meantime, the British director’s got his hands full with an even bigger project … Encouraging secondary schools to teach Solomon Northrup’s narrative, first published in 1853.
According to reports, public high schools will begin distributing books and showing the film later this year. “When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool,” talkshow host Montel Williams, who helped coordinate the initiative, said in a statement.
So far McQueen, has enlisted the help of Penguin Books and Plan B and has recently made a visit to some South Los Angeles schools. “Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools,” McQueen said in a statement.
12 Years a Slave is based on the story of Solomon Northup, a man who was a New York-born free negro and in 1841 was kidnapped by by slave-traders.