Sunday, August 12, 2012

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Easily one of the best books I've read this year. This is the story of Aminata Diallo who was stolen from her village in Africa in the mid 1700's when she was 11 years old. Her grueling journey in the slave ship and the conditions there are tragic and so graphically recounted. How anyone survived even this part was mind boggling. On board the ship she recounted the names of the slaves there so they would feel that they had meaning in this world and that by speaking their names they would not be forgotten. Later in life she keeps The Book Of Negroes, a census of the black population that want to create new lives for themselves in Nova Scotia. Aminata's story is a tribute to the pureness of her heart and spirit, so movingly told by Lawrence Hill. She is sold into slavery in South Carolina, her family is torn from her, yet she somehow endures. She learns to read, write, and she is a much needed midwife, a skill she learns as a child from her mother in Africa. We follow her to New York, to Canada, back to her African home, and finally to England where she becomes the face of the Abolitionist movement.

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