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The Book of Negroes

War . History . Drama

Abducted from her village in West Africa, eleven-year-old Aminata Diallo is forced into a slave coffle and must endure a horrific ocean crossing. She is brought to a South Carolina plantation where she makes herself useful by using midwifery skills learned at her mother's side, all the while keeping the attentions of her jealous slave master, Robinson Appleby, at bay. Soon after Aminata reencounters Chekura, a fellow slave from West Africa, they are married in a clandestine ceremony. When their first baby is brutally abducted and sold by Appleby she vows to return one day to her homeland.

Status: Ended
TV Channel: CBC
  • Sarah Rodman

    The characters are fleshed out with multiple layers — at one point Aminata is granted something of a reprieve by a British benefactor, but he is by no means saintly — and moments of easy humor and romance are woven skillfully into the story.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Whitney Matheson

    As Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis) reminds herself and others repeatedly, one must never give up--and it’s this steadfast hope that makes the story a particularly compelling television event.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    The heroine's fearless and clever character, the self-knowledge and self-possession her tormentors lack, and her gift for survival are fixed from first to last. She is sometimes thwarted but never altered. If this makes The Book of Negroes less psychologically complex than it otherwise might be, there are real pleasures and comforts to be had from it.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    Book of Negroes, a six-hour Black History Month miniseries, will be fairly compared to "Roots."

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Although it's not always easy to watch, it kept me riveted over a recent weekend.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    Graphic cruelty, not to mention violence, makes for difficult viewing in this lavishly produced miniseries. But it’s worthwhile, especially as director Clement Virgo has opened a new window on the experience of blacks in Canada.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    A Canadian-South African co-production, it's gracefully directed by Clement Virgo ("The Wire") and gorgeously filmed, mostly in South Africa. Soapy? A little, but so was "Roots."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Ellis, particularly, gives a lead performance that is strong enough to mask some of the script’s problems.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Although history obviously mixes with fiction, there’s enough here left under-covered by traditional textbooks to make The Book of Negroes an intriguing window into the period.

    Variety Full Review
Episode Guide For Show: The Book of Negroes