New York Times corrects "12 Years a Slave" story -- 161 years later

This film publicity image released by Fox Searchlight shows Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Films

Better late than never?

The New York Times issued a correction Tuesday for an article that ran on Jan. 20, 1853 -- more than 160 years ago -- about the man whose memoir inspired the film "12 Years a Slave," which was named best picture at Sunday's Oscars.

The Times explained that the story about Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery, spelled his name incorrectly, in two different ways. His surname appeared as "Northrup" in the article's headline and as "Northrop" in the article itself.

The paper said the errors came to light Monday "after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives."

That Twitter user, it seems, was Rebecca Skloot, the author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."


After the correction ran, she tweeted, "The irony, of course, is that I'm a terrible speller and proofreader."

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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