In its Tuesday edition, the New York Times published a correction of an article that ran on Jan. 20, 1853, which twice misspelled the name of the man portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie, “12 Years a Slave.”
The Times admitted the 161-year-old gaffe after it was brought to the publication's attention that the article based on Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, misspelled his second name as “Northrop,” in the body of the article and as “Northrup,” in the headline.
"The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives," the newspaper explained. The original article, “The Kidnapping Case; Narrative of the Seizure and Recovery of Solomon Northrup; Interesting Disclosure,” claimed to be the first story to cover the news after Northup was released from slavery on Jan. 4, 1853.
The error was pointed out by Rebecca Skloot, the author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” who wrote in her Twitter account: “Interesting: That original 1853 article spelled Solomon's name differently in headline vs main article #12YearsASlave.”
After the correction was made, Skloot tweeted: “Yesterday I posted that the 1853 Solomon Northup article misspelled his name.NYT has issued correction #12YearsaSlave.”
She wrote in another tweet: “The irony, of course, is that I'm a terrible speller and proofreader.”
“12 Years a Slave,” based on Northup's memoir, won the Best Picture award at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday.
Check out the 161-year-old Times article here.