"The Book of Negroes" Television Series
The history of the Black Loyalists is a fascinating one, and beginning Wednesday, January 7, CBC will be broadcasting the long-awaited mini-series that tells the story of 3,000 black refugees who came to Nova Scotia in 1783.
The Book of Negroes is a six-part mini-series based on author Lawrence Hill's award-winning novel of the same name. It follows the harrowing journey of Aminata Diallo and her return home to Africa after being forced into slavery as a child.
A collaboration between Canada and South Africa, the mini-series was co-produced by Nova Scotia’s Bill Niven and supported by Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Film Industry Tax Credit. It was filmed on location in and around Shelburne, Lunenburg, Louisbourg and Halifax, as well as South Africa. The program also features a number of local actors. This production has engaged multiple departments and agencies across government including, Communities, Culture and Heritage, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism and the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency.
The title of the mini-series and novel comes from the 18th century British ledger called the "Book of Negroes", which is the single most important document relating to the immigration of African Americans to Nova Scotia following the War of Independence. It includes the names and descriptions of 3,000 black refugees registered on board the vessels that sailed from New York to Nova Scotia between 23 April and 30 November 1783. A digitized copy of the original ledger is on the Nova Scotia Archives' website.
While the Book of Negroes mini-series and novel are fiction, the historic exodus of Black Loyalists from New York to Nova Scotia, and many other aspects of the story, are based on historical facts.