Top 10 Quotes by 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Chapin: [Tibeats and a gang are trying to lynch Solomon] Gentlemen... Whoever moves that nigger another foot from where he stands is a dead man. I am overseer of this plantation seven years, and in the absence of William Ford, my duty is to protect his interests. Ford holds a mortgage on Platt of four hundred dollars. If you hang him, he loses his debt. Until that is canceled you have no claim to his life. [to Ramsay and Cook] Chapin: As for you two, if you have any regard for your own safety... I say, begon

12 Years a Slave
Edwin Epps: [about Patsey] Damned Queen. Born and bred to the field. A nigger among niggers, and God give 'er to me. A lesson in the rewards of righteous livin'. All be observant ta that. All!
12 Years a Slave

[first lines] Overseer: Alright now, y'all fresh niggers. Y'all gonna be in the cuttin' gang

12 Years a Slave
Edwin Epps: "And that servant which knew his Lord's will... which knew his Lord's will and prepared not himself... prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes..." D'ye hear that? "Stripes." That nigger that don't take care, that don't obey his lord - that's his master - d'ye see? - that 'ere nigger shall be beaten with many stripes. Now, "many" signifies a great many. Forty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty lashes... That's Scripter!
12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup: I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!

12 Years a Slave
Solomon Northup: [Solomon awakens Armsby in the middle of the night. He offers him a handful of coins] The proceeds of my fiddling performances. A few picayunes, but all I have in the world. I promise them to you if you will do me the favor I require. But I beg you not to expose me if you cannot grant the request. Armsby: What do you ask? Solomon Northup: First, your word, sir. Armsby: On my honor. Solomon Northup: It is a simple enough request. I ask only that you deposit a letter in the Marksville post office. And that you keep the action an inviolable secret forever. The details of the letter are of no consequence. Even at that, there would be an imposition of much pain and suffering were it known I was the author. A patron is what I require, sir. Armsby: Where is the letter now? Solomon Northup: It is not yet written. I will have it in a day. Two at most, my skill with composition as poor as it is. Armsby: I will do it. And will accept whatever payment is o
12 Years a Slave

Tibeats: [after being punched out by Solomon over an argument] You will not live to see another day!

12 Years a Slave
Ford: I believe Tibeats is skulkin' about the premises somewhere. He wants you dead, and he will attempt to have you so. It's no longer safe for you here. And I don't believe you will remain passive if Tibeats attacks. I have transferred my debt to Edwin Epps. He will take charge of you. Solomon Northup: Master Ford, you must know; I am not a slave. Ford: I cannot hear that. Solomon Northup: Before I came to you I was a free man. Ford: I am trying to save your life! And... I have a debt to be mindful of. That, now, is to Edwin Epps. He is a hard man. Prides himself on being a "nigger breaker." But truthfully I could find no others who would have you. You've made a reputation of yourself. Whatever your circumstances, you are an exceptional nigger, Platt. I fear no good will come of
12 Years a Slave

Tibeats: I thought I told yah ta commence ta puttin' on clapboards this morn'.

12 Years a Slave
Bass: The law says you have the right to hold a nigger, but begging the law's pardon... it lies. Is everything right because the law allows it? Suppose they'd pass a law taking away your liberty and making you a slave? Edwin Epps: Ha! Bass: Suppose! Edwin Epps: That ain't a supposable case. Bass: Because the law states that your liberties are undeniable? Because society deems it so? Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all. White and black al