Walker Art Center

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Steve McQueen on 12 Years a Slave and our Racial Past and Present



In the months surrounding the release of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Trayvon Martin was killed, Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was struck down by the US Supreme Court, and we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. Recalling these facts, McQueen told audiences at his dialogue at the Walker Art Center on November 9, 2013, of his first time reading the book on which his film was based, Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave (1853): “I thought, this is like science fiction. But it actually happened—and is happening.” Video of the full dialogue will be published here soon.