Thirty-seven years after “Roots,” “The Book of Negroes” will tell the tale of a female slave in 18th-century America.
BET’s first miniseries is an adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s novel (published in the U.S. as Someone Knows My Name). which focuses on Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis), a woman kidnapped by slave-traders as a 11-year-old in Sierra Leone. Sold to a South Carolina plantation, she survives the Revolutionary War and eventually journeys to Canada and England to gain her freedom before finally returning to her homeland. Aminata’s story, while far from typical, represents the lives of 1,200 former slaves who managed to travel back to Africa. The miniseries’ title refers to a historical registry kept by British soldiers that lists the slaves who aided the crown during the war in return for emigration to Nova Scotia.
As the Los Angeles Times notes, television and film’s most prominent slave narratives — “Roots,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Django Unchained,” “Amistad,” and “Glory” — tend to focus on black men. (Sadly, there has yet to be a big-screen treatment of Harriet Tubman’s daring life, though her story was told on screen in the 1978 TV movie “A Woman Called Moses.”)
“The Book of Negroes,” a Canadian-South African co-production, also stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Jane Alexander, Ben Chaplin, and Louis Gossett Jr., who won an Emmy for the original “Roots.”
The six-hour miniseries will premiere this Monday at 8 PM and continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.
[via LA Times]