12 Years a Slave Discussion Questions


12 Years a Slave Discussion

Creating dialogue that leads to action…

If you’ve seen 12 years a Slave in the theater or read the book recently, you may be like so many others. After viewing the film I needed  dialogue. I needed to discussion. I had the need to process what I had seen. I had mixed emotions and so many questions. If any of this resonates with you these questions are for you. The questions will assist you in processing the film and assist you in creating additional dialogue and education around the movie. We hope that the questions will engage many in a conversation about race relations, diversity and the affects and systemic issues it has had on society. I want to equip those who would like educating others on the topic. I desire to evoke deeper thoughts into the plight of our communities, families and culture. My goal is to encourage others not to turn away from atrocities. We must see the hope that lies within all of us. May this movie and dialogue empower us to become change-agents in our spheres of influence.


Describe in one word your feelings after viewing “12 Years a Slave”. Here are a few words others have used to express their emotion (Educated, Angry, Empowered, Damn, Riveting) Expound on your one word and the others listed here.

Blog your thoughts via Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Start a conversation via social media.

Take someone to see the movie that has not seen it.


How has the African American community evolved from slavery?

Has there been a “great disconnect” to history and the generation.

How can we tell our stories but continue to move forward.

How does history help prepare you for the future?


Describe the difference in our current culture’s value system compared to those of Northup’s.

What is the contrast of the over-sexualualization of girls in our society today versus those abuses experienced by Patty and so many others.

Are schools still segregated? What are race relations like at your school or workplace?


Discuss ways you can mentor or influence others around you.

Check out: Unitedbsa.org, iamgifted.org, notforsalecampaign.org, http://alliesagainstslavery.org/

Talk to your children about justice.

Talk to your children about race and diversity.


It’s difficult to address what you have not acknowledged. No acknowledgement causes you to hold on to and embrace lies.

How can we turn the pain of Northup’s story into present day action?

What areas of injustice need to be addressed in 2014?

How can justice be served for all those who suffered the atrocities of slavery, Jim Crow and marginalization?

What is the best action to right the wrong of slavery?

Does slavery still exit? If so how is the emotional and physical abuse similar?