Author Solomon Northup's harrowing book, which inspired Oscar-favourite slavery drama 12 Years A Slave, is to become a study tool for U.S. high school students.
The book and director Steve MCQueen's movie adaptation will be added to the curriculum later this year (14) thanks in part to a campaign spearheaded by U.S. Tv host Montel Williams, according to the New York Times.
A statement from Williams reads, "When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future."
Director Steve MCQueen adds, "Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools."
The news comes just two days after the film triumphed at the NAACP Image Awards and a day after it picked up the Best Motion Picture prize at the annual Satellite Awards, where MCQueen was named Best Director.
12 Years a Slave is the favourite to pick up gold for Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday (02Mar14).
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.