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How depictions of slavery in film have evolved

In the new film adaptation of
In the new film adaptation of "Twelve Years A Slave", Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.
Jaap Buitendijk/Fox Searchlight Pictures

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This weekend the film "12 Years A Slave" opened in theaters here in Southern California.

The film is based on the autobiography of a man named Solomon Northrup, who was born a free man and was well-educated, but was kidnapped, sold into slavery and spent 12 years working for various masters on plantations in Louisiana, going by the name Platt.

Official Trailer:

"12 Years A Slave" is the latest cinematic representation of one of the most shameful chapters in our nation's past.  For more on the history of slavery in film and the effect it has on our cultural understanding of the subject, we're joined by Brenda Stevenson, professor of history at UCLA.