"The Book of Negroes," based on the award-winning novel from Johns Hopkins University alum Lawrence Hill, has been made into a television mini-series to be shown later this month on BET.
American actor Aunjanue Ellis plays the main character, Aminata Diallo, an escaped slave seeking her freedom. While Hill's novel is a work of fiction, a "Book of Negroes" actually does exist -- it records the names of some 3,000 slaves who escaped to the British lines during the American Revolution and were later re-settled in Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada.
Others in the cast include Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr., as well as Lyriq Bent and Ben Chaplin. The Canadian production was directed by Clement Virgo ("Lie With Me") and co-written by Hill and Virgo.
Hill, a native Canadian who still lives there, received an M.A. in writing from Hopkins in 1993. "The Book of Negroes," also published as "Someone Knows My Name" and "Aminata," was awarded the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and both CBC Radio's Canada Reads and Radio-Canada's Combat des livres, according to the author's website.
"The Book of Negroes" is scheduled to premiere at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 on BET.