The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

In a previous post of mine that discusses the controversial film, The Confederate States of America, I mention the lack of information on Canada's history of slavery. After five years of research, Lawrence Hill, an author from Burlington, Ontario, has written a novel called, The Book of Negroes, which centers on the issue of Canada's less known history of slavery and the country's unfortunate distinction as being the site of North America's first race riot.

"In 1784, gangs of unemployed white men attacked the black settlement of Birchtown, N.S., destroying 20 homes. Angry at their betrayal by the British, 1,000 Black Loyalists sailed for Sierra Leone just ten years after arriving in Canada, embarking on the world’s first return-to-Africa journey."

This story of migration to the Americas and back fascinated Hill who ends up writing an epic novel about a character named, Aminata Diallo, who survives kidnapping by slave traders at 11, the horrors of the Middle Passage, an exodus to Nova Scotia, then Sierra Leone and finally England.

Lawrence Hill discusses The Book of Negroes with CBC.

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