Normalizing the Black Family

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In 12 Years of Slave, the theme of family is a tie that binds throughout the story. While the film depicts the life of Solomon Northrup, a freeman captured and sold into slavery, and his struggle to get back to his life and his family. 12 Years also reflects the lives of other slaves he meets who too are separated from their families. 12 Years is very tightly focused on the systematic dehumanization of Black people in the American South during slavery. This film defines the subhuman view of the Black family in the antebellum South that remained pervasive post the Civil War and into the 20th Century where its effects have filtered into many films and TV shows.

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