The New York Times on Tuesday corrected an article it printed 161 years ago detailing the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir Twelve Years a Slave was the basis of the film that won this year's Academy Award for best picture.
The film tells his tale as a free-born, black farmer and violinist who was kidnapped by slave traders. Northup was living in Saratoga, N.Y., in 1841 when he was lured to Washington, D.C., kidnapped and sold to a Louisiana plantation. Northup spent 12 years on Louisiana plantations before regaining his freedom in 1853.
The correction says the newspaper misspelled Northup's last name two different ways. The Times credits a Twitter user for finding the errors.
The complete correction:
An article on Jan. 20, 1853, recounting the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir "12 Years a Slave" became a movie 160 years later that won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup. The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives.(The errors notwithstanding, The Times described the article as "a more complete and authentic record than has yet appeared.")
12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup. In addition to best picture, the film won Oscars for best supporting actress — Lupita Nyong'o— and best adapted screenplay — John Ridley.