{First Look} The Book of Negroes + Video

Based on author Lawrence Hill’s award-winning novel of the same name, THE BOOK OF NEGROES is a six-part miniseries that follows the harrowing journey of Aminata Diallo played by Aunjanue Ellis, and her return home after being forced into slavery as a child. 

Abducted from her village in West Africa, eleven-year-old Aminata (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon) is forced to walk in a coffle – a string of slaves – for months until they reach the sea. After enduring a horrific ocean crossing, she’s put to work on an indigo plantation in South Carolina. Here, she survives by using midwifery skills learned at her mother’s side and drawing on the strength of character inherited from her parents. After a clandestine wedding to fellow slave Chekura Tyano (Lyriq Bent), the couple’s first baby is sold by her jealous slave master, Robinson Appleby (Greg Byrk).

Aminata’s intellectual abilities are recognized by a Jewish indigo trader’s wife named Rosa Lindo (Amy Louise Wilson), who plucks her out of Appleby’s servitude and engages her as an indentured apprentice. When Rosa’s husband Soloman (Allan Hawco) takes Aminata on a trip to New York, she masterminds a successful escape, fleeing to the safety of Canvas Town, an early Black settlement in lower Manhattan. Here, after surviving the American Revolution, she helps register 3000 Black Loyalists in the “Book of Negroes,” a historic British military ledger that recorded their passage on ships sailing from Manhattan to Nova Scotia. 

But upon landing in wintry Shelburne, Aminata encounters more hardship and disappointment as she struggles to locate her husband and witnesses flaring tensions between the white and black communities over the scarcity of work. It becomes clear that her journey isn’t over as she works to find a way back home and ultimately reunite with her long-lost daughter. Also starring, Cuba Gooding Jr. Jane Alexander, Cara Ricketts, Sandra Caldwell, Ben Chaplin and Lou Gossett Jr.

In Early 2015, The Book of Negroes is set to air on BET in America, and CBC in Canada.

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