Based on a true story, "The Book of Negroes" tells the story of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali aged 11 in 1755, and who, after a deathly journey on a slave ship where she witnesses the brutal repression of a slave revolt, is sold to a plantation owner in South Carolina, who rapes her. She is brought to New York, where she escapes her owner, and finds herself helping the British by recording all the freed slaves on the British side in the Revolutionary War in The Book of Negroes (a real historical ...
Based on a true story, "The Book of Negroes" tells the story of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali aged 11 in 1755, and who, after a deathly journey on a slave ship where she witnesses the brutal repression of a slave revolt, is sold to a plantation owner in South Carolina, who rapes her. She is brought to New York, where she escapes her owner, and finds herself helping the British by recording all the freed slaves on the British side in the Revolutionary War in The Book of Negroes (a real historical document that can be found today at the National Archives at Kew).Aminata is sent to Nova Scotia to start a new life, but finds more hostility, oppression and tragedy. Separated from her one true love, and suffering the unimaginable loss of both her children who are taken away from her, she eventually joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing odyssey back to Africa, and ends up in London as a living icon for Wilberforce and the other Abolitionists. "The Book of Negroes" is a pageturning narrative that manages to use Aminata's heart-rending personal story to bring to life a harrowing chapter in our history.
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Aminita will be a character burned onto your heart forever. The main character of "The Book of Negroes" (published in the U.S. as "Someone Knows My Name") is a strong, heroic woman. Her history will touch you and leave you changed.
The title is based on a little-known document, the book of negroes, which recorded the names and descriptions of 3,000 African-American slaves who escaped to the British lines during the American Revolution and were evacuated by British ships to points in Nova Scotia as freedmen.
The story itself revolves around Aminita, from her childhood in an African village to her status as a revered but misunderstood symbol of abolition. The book is unstoppable reading, simply hard to put down. You travel step-by-step with Aminita, and the journey is harrowing, joyful and ultimately worthwhile. Here is an excerpt, a small sample of Mr. Hill's evocative writing.
'Let me begin with a caveat to any and all who find these pages. Do not trust large bodies of water, and do not cross them. If you, Dear Reader, have an African hue and find yourself led toward water with vanishing shores, seize your freedom by any means necessary. And cultivate distrust of the colour pink. Pink is taken as the colour of innocence, the colour of childhood, but as it spills across the water in the light of the dying sun, do not fall into its pretty path. There, right underneath, lies a bottomless graveyard of children, mothers and men. I shudder to imagine all the Africans rocking in the deep. Every time I have sailed the seas, I have had the sense of gliding over the unburied. Some people call the sunset a creation of extraordinary beauty, and proof of God's existence. But what benevolent force would bewitch the human spirit by choosing pink to light the path of a slave vessel?'
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