Top 10 Quotes by 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Clemens: If you want to survive, do and say as little as possible. Tell no one who you really are and tell no one that you can read and write. Unless you want to be a dead nigger.

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

Mistress Epps: You will remove that black bitch from this property, or I'll take myself back to Cheneyville. Edwin Epps: Back to the hogs's trough where I found you? Do not set yourself against Patsy, my dear. Cos I will rid myself of you well before I do away with her

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

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
Burch: Yah a slave. Yah a Georgia slave! [savagely beats Solomon until his paddle breaks. He switches to a whip and continues] Burch: Are yah a slave? Solomon Northup:
12 Years a Slave

Hamilton: I'm afraid that Brown and I haven't brought you much luck. But rough waters bring smooth sailing. Eventually they do. Solomon Northup: So... so sorry... Hamilton: Shhh. We won't hear it. We won't. Brown: Let him sleep. Hamilton: Hmm. A good night's sleep. And tomorrow... tomorrow you will feel as well and refreshed as though the earth were new again. Brown: Hamilton! Nothing more we can do for him. Hamilton: Such is the

12 Years a Slave
Solomon Northup: [Upon meeting his family again after 12 years] I apologize for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.
12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup: We need a sympathetic ear. If we have an opportunity to explain our situation... Clemens: Who in your estimation is that sympathetic ear? Solomon Northup: The two men I journeyed with. I'm certain they're making inquires at this very moment. Clemens: I would be just as certain they are counting the money paid for delivering you to this place. Solomon Northup: They were not kidnappers. They were artists. Fellow performers. Clemens: You know that? You know for certain who they were? [Solomon cannot answer] Clemens: How I reckon the situation: whatever past we had... well, that's done now. The reality to come is us being transported southward. New Orleans if I were to venture. After we arrive, we'll be put to market. Beyond that... Well, once in a slave state I suppose there's only one o

12 Years a Slave
Robert: I say we fight. Solomon Northup: The crew is fairly small. If it were well planned, I believe they could be strong armed. Clemens: Three can't stand against a whole crew. The rest here are niggers, born and bred slaves. Niggers ain't got the stomach for a fight, not a damn one. Robert: All I know, we get where we travelling we'll wish we'd died trying. Clemens: Survival is not about certain death, it is about keeping your head down. Solomon Northup: Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you tell me all is lost. "Tell no one who I really am" if I want to survive. I don't want to survive, I want to