Written by Canadian author Lawrence Hill, the Book of Negroes is a masterpiece in its own right. Written in the voice of a woman, the reader is surprised to learn the truth about the author. He is a man who has crafted his words, descriptions, and understandings so well that the reader is surprised to see that he is a man.
The book has three titles, in Canada it is the published as the ‘Book of Negroes’ entitled after the real name of the log book that was used to record the names of the slaves who were put on the slave boats. In the USA, Australia and New Zealand publishers decided on the title ‘Someone knows my name’. There was some tension in the latter countries to use the name ‘Negroes’ but once the book is read, this term is fully understood and if not empathized with.
A little about the inspiration for the book: Lawrence Hill’s novel is inspired by a fascinating but little known historical document called the Book of Negroes, copies of which can be found in the USA at the New York Public Library, the Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) and the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C. In Canada, copies of the same historical document can be found in the Nova Scotia Public Archives and in the National Archives of Canada. Lawrence Hill wrote a feature article called “Freedom Bound” about the historical document The Book of Negroes in the February/March 2007 edition of The Beaver: Canada’s History Magazine.
Interview with the author Lawrence Hill:You can read the interview at http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/book_of_negroes.html.
First hand review: I have read this and could not put it down. The story is captivating, the history incredible and the strength unbelievable. Never did I know this much about Black history and after reading it, wanted to understand more and more about this hidden part of history.
There is rumor that the book may be made into a movie and when reflecting on this, I can only imagine the images, the locations and the overwhelming emotion that could be felt and understood in a motion picture. I will wait and see if someone comes forth to put this story into film and really knock the socks off the audience.
Lawrence Hill lives near Toronto in Canada and has several titles to his name. I highly recommend this read and for those who do not know a lot about Black History in the US and Canada, it is sure to have you re-think why this has been missed in many history textbooks, and understandings.
This is a must read and will captivate you for the entire time you are turning pages and visualizing the life of this incredible woman, the Africans taken from their homes and the treatment received by .civilized societies. Heart wrenching yet inspirational.
Learn More about Lawrence Hill on his website.