From The Morton Blog

Acclaimed Miniseries The Book of Negroes - Now on DVD

By , Contributor
Canadian-produced miniseries The Book of Negroes premiered on CBC on January 7, 2015 and ran for six weeks. It then bowed in the U.S. on BET, with two episodes airing nightly from February 16-18. It’s an adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Hill, which itself was based on a historical document by that same name. The original Book of Negroes document was a list of some 3,000 black British loyalists during the American Revolutionary War. These individuals sided with British forces in exchange for promised freedom in Canada. In certain parts of the world (including the U.S.), Lawrence Hill’s novel was retitled Someone Knows My Name so as to avoid any misconceptions arising from the usage of the word “negro.”

Book of Negroes 2 (380x253).jpgThe producers of the TV adaptation stuck with the original title. The complete six-part The Book of Negroes miniseries is now available on DVD via Entertainment One (it was released April 7, 2015). The acclaimed series follows the life of Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis), a child abducted from her African village, sold into slavery, and who eventually assists in recording names in the aforementioned book before attempting to settle in Nova Scotia. The series co-stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., Louis Gossett, Jr., and Ben Chaplin. US Weekly raved: “Miniseries rarely grip like this drama, a six-parter on the scale of that gold standard Roots.”

Synopsis (from official press materials): “An epic dramatic adaptation of the critically acclaimed, Oprah Winfrey listed novel by Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes depicts the extraordinary life of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who survives against all odds in a world that forever underestimates her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.”

Book of Negroes 3 (380x253).jpgThe Book of Negroes Special Edition DVD includes the following special features: “featurettes "History of the Black Loyalists Society" and "Amistad"; ten cast interviews with stars Aunjanue Ellis, Louis Gossett Jr., Cuba Gooding Jr. and others; two exclusive interviews with best-selling author Lawrence Hill; and 30-minutes of deleted scenes. Additionally, the set contains a 28-page collector's book featuring an exclusive essay from Hill.”

For more information about The Book of Negroes, visit the official website on CBC. You can also keep up with the latest about the series on Twitter.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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