The memoir 12 Years a Slave highlights a part of American history that most of us are either ignorant of or would like to forget. It is important that we all, including young people, learn how horrible it was to be African American in those days and how our society is built on oppression.
I believe that there is already enough historical books dealing with slavery in that time period that it is not necessary to add another one, I think that it should be optional reading and many who do read it will enjoy it but I don't think we should add another book to the already crowded area of slavery books.
The novel "12 years a slave" should not be required reading because it is not truly a classic literary work. It is not written in a manner that suggests the basis for literature. It is a great novel that addresses much of the issues with slavery. That does not mean it should be required reading. Huckleberry Finn would be a much more appropriate book to begin with, and this novel could be a suggested follow up.
I do not believe that 12 Years A Slave should be required reading in high school. I think that while it is a book some people should read, it isn't something that should become a part of the educational system here in the United States of America. I think that it should be a personal choice to read it.