“Why I’m Not Allowed my Book Title”

The Book of Negroes 6-part miniseries premieres on CBC Television on January 7, 2015 at 9 p.m. (9:30 in Newfoundland) and continues on consecutive Wednesdays; in February, it will air in the United States on BET (Black Entertainment Television). The novel it was based on was authored by Lawrence Hill.  Allow me to introduce him to you.

Photo of Canadian author Lawrence Hill from 2008
Canadian author Lawrence Hill, 2008. Uploaded to Wikipedia.org by user Sherurcij (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sherurcij)

Hill was born in Newmarket, Ontario. He is the son of American immigrants to Canada — a black father and a white mother. Hill has written in his bestselling memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice of how his parents — social activist Donna Hill and social scientist/public servant Daniel G. Hill — met, married, left the United States the day after they married in 1953 in Washington, D.C., and raised a family in Toronto. Growing up in the 1960s in Don Mills, a predominantly white suburb of Toronto, Hill was very influenced by his parents’ human rights work and would go on to explore in his writing themes related to identity and belonging.

Hill has lived and worked in Baltimore, Spain and France, and now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and five children. His brother is singer-songwriter Dan Hill.

The $10-million miniseries chronicles the dramatic journey and life of Aminata Diallo, a young West African girl, abducted from her village and sold into slavery in America. Eventually, she registers her name in the Book of Negroes, the British ledger of 3,000 Black Loyalists who declared their allegiance to the King and were allowed to leave America for Nova Scotia – and what they believed was the promised land.

Books by Hill includes novels, such as:

Among his non-fiction books, there is:


To learn more about Lawrence Hill, I suggest going to the official Lawrence Hill website; and a .pdf called A tribute: “Dad will always ‘live within us’ – A son remembers Daniel Hill III, Activist, storyteller, champion, inspirer”; and finally a Guardian newspaper article Why I’m Not Allowed my Book Title.

Come back and tell us what your thoughts are about the miniseries if you watch it!


  1. No wonder they moved north! (Or possibly this was a factor since Virginia is next to Washington, DC….) Virginia had a law against miscegenation until 1967!

    Says the Wikipedia article on the topic: “Anti-miscegenation laws or miscegenation laws were laws that enforced racial segregation at the level of marriage and intimate relationships by criminalizing interracial marriage and sometimes also sex between members of different races.

    “Such laws were first introduced in North America from the late seventeenth century onwards by several of the Thirteen Colonies, and subsequently by many US states and US territories and remained in force in many US states until 1967. After the Second World War, an increasing number of states repealed their anti-miscegenation laws.

    “In 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, the remaining anti-miscegenation laws were held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    ‘Similar laws were also enforced in Nazi Germany as part of the Nuremberg laws, and in South Africa as part of the system of Apartheid. In the United States, interracial marriage, cohabitation and sex have been termed ‘miscegenation’ since the term was coined in 1863. Contemporary usage of the term is less frequent, except to refer to historical laws banning the practice.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • We’re doing better on the racial front, but the savage libels and disrespect directed toward President Obama by the extreme right wing are largely responses to his being the first black president than whether he is a good and decent man or not. We are not grown up in America…yet!

        I think he will end up getting kudos from historians for what he was able to do despite that neo-fascist element in Congress and the cheap pot shots of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment channel posing as legitimate journalism, Fox.News

        His grace under pressure is amazing to me. Now that he doesn’t have the restraint of having to prepare for a new election on his shoulders, I suspect he will shock his critics be not being so nice any longer.

        Or at least I hope so.I am sick of the disrespect he is shown and the scurrilous lies of those who will stop at nothing to try to diminish him as a person, let alone as a president.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree, for as much as I can understand from the news. And I’ve heard about Fox News, so I never watch it. I do hope Obama does more of the same in his final days – I agree with his stances on different things. I was also “hot under the collar” when people were bringing up the birth certificate! I’m glad that’s over!


          • Well, as we say in America when mocking the extremists and their anal attachment to favorite talking points with no basis in truth: “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!”

            Once the extremists latch onto some nonsense, they don’t drop it. There are a few birthers still hanging on to that ridiculous lie. (Donald Trump being a notable one.)

            Of course, John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate for President, was born in the US Canal Zone in Panama of American parents, no problem Constitutionally.

            Ted Cruz was born in Canada of a Cuban and a mother who had American citizenship. I don’t know if he’s given up his dual citizenship yet, but, as I understand the Constitution, he isn’t exclude from running for the Presidency because he had one parent who was an American citizen.

            Then there’s Barack Obama, born in America of an American citizen by birth, absolutely no more or less Constitutionally eligible for the Presidency than those two Republicans, one of whom ran for the office and lost, and the other who will lose when he runs. (Or I leave the country!)

            Enough of this American politics, though. This is a Canadian history blog! What’s interesting is how one country opens its arms to a person while the one right next door throws up obstacles to try to trip him.

            Liked by 1 person

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