Posted in Books, Canada, Family, Televison, Uncategorized

Someone Knows My Name

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There are many ways to enslave people – physically, emotionally, psychologically, economically, culturally. There are ways to do so without the slaves knowing they’re slaves.

The Book of Negroes miniseries on CBC, adapted from the award-winning Lawrence Hill novel reinforces how wrong slavery was and continues to be.

 The Canadian title, The Book of Negroes, thought to be controversial in other countries, refers to a historical document containing the names of black people who served the King/Britain during the American Revolutionary War and could then escape to Canada. Ironically, even as The Patriots fought to free themselves from being slaves of The Tories, they didn’t also consider the black slaves should be free. It’s more common title, Someone Knows My Name, refers to the protagonist’s wish to be more than a slave. This document isn’t connected with the Underground Railway; routes and codes that helped slaves escape to Canada, starting in the 1780s.

People often say, I have no prejudices, I’ve actually said it, turns out I do. I have prejudices, but not against any race, religion, etc., just against selfish, cruel, arrogant, thoughtless, injudicious, idiotic people; those I find offensive.

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This 6-part miniseries, directed by Clement Virgo is wincingly uncomfortable to watch, to see any person or living thing treated in such a callous, cruel, repulsive manner should always be unnerving to see.

The protagonist, Aminata Diallo is intelligent and ambitious, she yearns to be more, to break free, and to be known as a real person, not property. She realizes education is a strong tool to help. She’s proud of her name and wants to be known by it. I understand that, although my name was already a series of Nancy Drew-style books, also, the surname, Parker, well, we weren’t just proud keepers of parks, but also: slave owners, slave traders, and overseers. Hey, you can’t pick your ancestors.

The cast is so astonishing, where to begin, at the beginning, with Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, the extraordinary young actress who played Aminata as a child. She took us into this role; you believed she was the protagonist. I assume we’ll be seeing a lot more of her. Aunjanue Ellis continues the role to perfection.

This had me flinching, sad, hopeful, crying, smiling, and compelled to watch more.
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Brilliant work from Allan Hawco (of course), Greg Byrk, Amy Louise Wilson, Sandra Caldwell, Louis Gossett Jr., Cuba Gooding Jr., Lyriq Bent, Jane Alexander, ok, the whole cast is amazing.

Hard to believe people are still sold into slavery.

How is that still a thing?

“She asked why I was so black. I asked why she was so white. She said she was born that way. Same here, I replied.” ~Lawrence Hill

Images courtesy of the CBC

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Very me

24 thoughts on “Someone Knows My Name

  1. I’ve read the book and so wanted to see the mini-series. Noticed the announcement in the paper for the first time and it’s up to part 3. Hopefully, it will be back again as I’d like to see it from start to finish. I never think to put on the television, but I would for this. Thanks for the reminder. ❤

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  2. I watched 12 years a slave and I just couldn’t watch the violent abusive parts. I can’t believe that people could treat anyone like that either, but then when I think about it there are still people out there that treat others this way. So upsetting.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, it’s on CBC here in Canada, which is the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, but I understand it will be on BET soon and then streaming services and DVD, libraries, etc. 🙂

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      1. I will look too. Thanks. I’m sure I will find it on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu soon. I think its interesting. Some of my husband’s family is rabidly racist and just found out they are carriers for Sickle Cell trait. I am sorry to see they have to deal with health issues, but wonder if it will make them more sympathetic to issues they felt “superior” too. We all know anyone can have any genetic disease, but they are most unhappy to have a disease they identify with the black race.

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