Thursday, July 18, 2013
Someone Knows My Name/ Book of Negroes
I picked this book up when it first came out in 2007. I put it down after flipping through a few pages and learning about the black british loyalists who were shipped to Nova Scotia after the american revolution. The book was then titled "The Book of Negroes" by canadian Lawrence Hill.
About a week ago I picked up a book titled "Someone Knows My Name" by the same author. It wasn't until I'd purchased the book and returned home to read it that I realized it was in fact the same Book of Negroes book under a different title.
I'm completely taken by this book and have shared my excitement about it with friends and family. I list it here on my blog to share with others and further the cause of enlightening readers to the story of slavery. Here is a story of Faith, Struggle and Survival.
So how does one survive crossing the Atlantic Ocean shackled inside the belly of a stinking, overcrowded, human hell that was the slave ship? Where comfort lies in the thought of a chance to break free and jump overboard to drown away the god-awful misery and torture? Below is a line from the book where the main character, a young girl of twelve or so, has survived in body but who's spirit is crumbling from the atrocities she's seen and witnessed since forcibly being taken from her village. She witnessed her mother and father killed, felt the harsh beatings and flesh scraping manacles of her captors and was shocked into compliance when during the slave march out of the jungle her bare foot crunched down into the crunchy, maggot-infested carcass of a captive who'd died along the way, his body left to rot alongside the path leading out of the african jungle. At the end of the path along the coast were two more introductions to the world of slavery; slave pens to buy and sell human chattel and slave ships that would carry the captured cargo to the americas.
Her name is Aminata Diallo and as the harsh reality of her enslavement sets in, a wise african adult male, after telling her that her duty is to stay alive, encourages her with these words:
" turn your mind from the ship, child. It is nothing but a rotting carcass in the grass. The carcass has shocked you with its stink and its flies. But you have walked past it, already, and now you must keep walking."
This is advice for us to heed today as we struggle with the injustices and shocking realities of life today. Leave yesterday's worrying thoughts and problems in yesterday's ship. We must keep walking and living.
It appears that someone is working on a movie version of this book. Bravo!
This is not a preview of the movie "The Book of Negroes"
Amazon Book Reviews