Abducted from her West African village at the age of eleven and sold as a slave in the American South, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom - and of finding her way home again. After escaping the plantation, torn from her husband and child, she passes through Manhattan in the chaos of the Revolutionary War, is shipped to Nova Scotia, and then joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing return odyssey to Africa.Based on a true story, Lawrence Hill's epic novel spans three continents and six decades to bring to life a dark and shameful chapter in our history through the story of one brave and resourceful woman.
'A beautiful, compelling artifice, spun from unspeakably savage facts . . . a fiction that faces the terrible truth about slavery' The Times Based on a true story, Lawrence Hill's epic novel spans three continents and six decades to bring to life a dark and shameful chapter in our history through the story of one brave and resourceful woman. Abducted from her West African village at the age of eleven and sold as a slave in the American South, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom - and of finding her way home again. After escaping the plantation, torn from her husband and child, she passes through Manhattan in the chaos of the Revolutionary War, is shipped to Nova Scotia, and then joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing return odyssey to Africa.
Based on a true story, The Book of Negroes tells the story of Aminata, a young girl abducted from her village in Mali aged 11 in 1755, and who, after a deathly journey on a slave ship where she witnesses the brutal repression of a slave revolt, is
Dreaming of escaping her life of slavery in South Carolina and returning to her African home, slave Aminata Diallo is thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War, during which she helps create a list of black people who have been honored for their service to the king.
In White Negroes, cultural commentator, essayist, and scholar Lauren Michele Jackson explores trends started in Black communities that have caught on and become cool, hugely popular and lucrative, but that exclude Black communities once mainstream audiences and mainstream dollars latch on. The consequences of this phenomenon can be easy to miss, as it is so ingrained in our consumer habits. Yet over and over, Black intellectual property is converted into white profit - one hashtag, hair style, music genre, and dance move at a time. This, Jackson argues, plays a role in keeping Black people from achieving economic, political, and social equity. Weaving together media scholarship and cultural critique, Jackson re-situates cultural appropriation as more than just a new buzzword. It is, she contends, simply another chapter in the long history of whiteness thriving at the expense, stolen labor and ingenuity of Black people. Further, her interrogation and exposure of the interracial antagonism resting on the other side of appropriation unravels behavior that feels normal only because it is common. Piercing, audacious, and bursting with pop-culture touchstones, White Negroes introduces a bold new voice in Jackson. Her debut is both a love letter to the creativity of Black folks and an urgent call for more thoughtful consumption by those who consider themselves "allies."
Censorship and book burning are still present in our lives. Lawrence Hill shares his experiences of how ignorance and the fear of ideas led a group in the Netherlands to burn the cover of his widely successful novel, The Book of Negroes, in 2011. Why do books continue to ignite such strong reactions in people in the age of the Internet? Is banning, censoring, or controlling book distribution ever justified? Hill illustrates his ideas with anecdotes and lists names of Canadian writers who faced censorship challenges in the twenty-first century, inviting conversation between those on opposite sides of these contentious issues. All who are interested in literature, freedom of expression, and human rights will enjoy reading Hill's provocative essay.
Keita Ali is on the run. Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival. He signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, but when Keita fails to place among the top finishers in his first race, he escapes into Freedom State—a wealthy island nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can stay safe only if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he would face almost certain death. This is the new underground: a place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be “illegal” live below the radar of the police and government officials. As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student struggling to escape the limits of his AfricTown upbringing; Ivernia Beech, a spirited old woman at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Calder, a recreational marathoner and the immigration minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared queen of AfricTown and madam of the community’s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, a reporter who is investigating the lengths to which her government will go to stop illegal immigration. Keita’s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but for his sister’s life, too. Fast moving and compelling, The Illegal casts a satirical eye on people who have turned their backs on undocumented refugees struggling to survive in a nation that does not want them. Hill’s depiction of life on the borderlands of society urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us.
The untold story of the Harvard class of '63, whose Black students fought to create their own identities on the cusp between integration and affirmative action. In the fall of 1959, Harvard recruited an unprecedented eighteen "Negro" boys as an early form of affirmative action. Four years later they would graduate as African Americans. Some fifty years later, one of these trailblazing Harvard grads, Kent Garrett, would begin to reconnect with his classmates and explore their vastly different backgrounds, lives, and what their time at Harvard meant. Garrett and his partner Jeanne Ellsworth recount how these eighteen youths broke new ground, with ramifications that extended far past the iconic Yard. By the time they were seniors, they would have demonstrated against national injustice and grappled with the racism of academia, had dinner with Malcolm X and fought alongside their African national classmates for the right to form a Black students' organization. Part memoir, part group portrait, and part narrative history of the intersection between the civil rights movement and higher education, this is the remarkable story of brilliant, singular boys whose identities were changed at and by Harvard, and who, in turn, changed Harvard.
In "Blood," bestselling author Lawrence Hill offers a provocative examination of the scientific and social history of blood, and on the ways that it unites and divides us today. Blood runs red through every person's arteries, and fulfills the same functions in every human being. However, as much as the study and use of blood has helped advance our understanding of human biology, its cultural and social representations have divided us perennially. Blood pulses through religions, literature, and the visual arts, and every time it pools or spills, we learn a little more about what brings human beings together and what divides them. This book is a fascinating historical and contemporary interpretation of blood, as a bold and enduring determinant of identity, race, culture, citizenship, belonging, privilege, deprivation, athletic superiority, and nationhood.
Many Canadians believe their nation fell on the right side of history in harbouring escaped slaves from the United States. In fact, in the wake of the American Revolution, many Loyalist families brought slaves with them when they settled in the Maritime colonies of British North America. Once there, slaves used their traditions of survival, resistance, and kinship networks to negotiate their new reality. Harvey Amani Whitfield’s book, the first on slavery in the Maritimes, is a startling corrective to the enduring and triumphant narrative of Canada as a land of freedom at the end of the Underground Railroad.
Mahatma Grafton is a disillusioned university graduate burdened with a famous name, and suffering from the curse of his generation -- a total lack of interest in the state of the world. The son of a retired railway porter from Winnipeg, he returns home for a job as a reporter with The Winnipeg Herald. Soon Mahatma is scoping local stories of murder and mayhem, breaking a promise to himself to avoid writing victim stories. As Mahatma is unexpectedly drawn into the inflammatory issue of French-language rights in Manitoba, with all its racial side-channels, he is surprised to find that he has a social conscience. Combating his boss’s flair for weaving hysteria into his stories, Mahatma learns that to stay afloat he must remain true to himself. Populated with colourful characters -- including an unlikely welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, a French-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon -- Some Great Thing is a fascinating portrait of a major urban newspaper and a deeply perceptive story of one man’s coming of age.