The Series Philosopher

Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn

The Book of Negroes

the-series-philosopher-The_Book_of_Negroes_poster.pngThe Book of Negroes is a miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Lawrence Hill. The six-part miniseries derives its origins from the historical document Book of Negroes and tells the story of a woman forcefully brought to South Carolina from West Africa at the time of the American Revolution. Clement Virgo (Greenleaf, The Listener) and Hill collaborated on writing the miniseries, with Virgo also directing.

It premiered on CBC in Canada on January 7, 2015 and on BET in the United States on February 16, 2015.


In 1750, eleven-year-old Aminata Diallo is abducted from her village in West Africa, placed in shackles, and sent across the ocean to be sold into slavery on a South Carolina indigo plantation. She falls in love and marries a fellow West African slave named Chekura but when their baby is brutally abducted and sold by jealous slave master, Robinson Appleby, Aminata vows to return one day to her homeland.

Solomon Lindo, a sympathetic indigo inspector, plucks Aminata out of Appleby’s enslavement and takes her to New York where she attempts a successful escape. Amidst the rising threat of the American War of Independence, she is recruited by Sir John Clarkson to help register names of Black Loyalists in a ledger known as The Book of Negroes, granting them freedom and passage to Nova Scotia.

Separated from her husband, Aminata encounters more hardship in Nova Scotia when tensions flare between the White and Black communities over the scarcity of work in the Shelburne Riots. Aminata successfully petitions British abolitionists, who organize passage to Africa for 1,200 former slaves—a final voyage that will reunite her with her homeland and allow her to give voice to her life story.


  • Aunjanue Ellis (Quantico, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles) as Aminata Diallo
  • Lyriq Bent (Rookie BlueShe’s Gotta Have It, Shoot the Messenger, Mary Kills People) as Chekura
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. (American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Big Time in Hollywood, FL) as Samuel Fraunces
  • Louis Gossett Jr. (The Young Rebels, Roots, Matthew Star) as Daddy Moses
  • Ben Chaplin (DatesMad Dogs) as Cpt. John Clarkson
  • Allan Hawco (Frontier, ZOS: Zone of Separation) as Solomon Lindo
  • Greg Bryk (Mary Kills People, Frontier, Bitten, Rookie Blue) as Robertson Appleby
  • Jane Alexander (The Good WifeTell Me You Love Me, Elementary) as Maria Witherspoon
  • Stephan James (The L.A Complex, Degrassi, Shots Fired) as Cummings Shakspear
  • Shailyn Pierre-Dixon (Between) as Young Aminata
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The Series Philosopher is a woman in her late 20s. Not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

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