The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old story about Solomon Northup, whose memoir was the basis for the Academy Award-winning movie “12 Years a Slave.”
The January 20, 1853, article, headlined “The Kidnapping Case,” tells the story of Northup, a black man born free in the northern United States, who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
That article misspelled Northup’s surname, referring to him as “Solomon Northrop,” while its headline misspelled it as “Northrup,” according to the correction, which followed Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, where the film based on Northup’s experience was named Best Picture.
The correction followed a series of Twitter posts from best-selling author Rebecca Skloot, whose tweets about the article contained their own typographical errors.
Skloot is the author “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” a bestseller in 2010. Lacks was a poor black Virginia tobacco farmer whose cancerous tumor cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951, and used to create an “immortal cell line” that proved key in developing the polio vaccine, gene mapping and other medical research breakthroughs.