Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes* is an exceptional work about an exceptional woman that manages to put the spotlight on a little known historical document (the titular Book of Negroes).
Spanning sixty or so years, from the mid 1700s to early 1800s, The Book of Negroes is about Aminata Diallis, a woman who as a child is kidnapped from her village in West Africa and sold into slavery. Through sheer luck and a series of coincidences she is able to learn how to read and also to "catch" babies and these two skills allow her to survive and find work wherever she goes. The book traces her amazing journey from Africa to South Carolina to Nova Scotia to Africa again and finally to England and in the process educates the reader on the path a few thousand black slaves were able to take in order to free themselves, a difficulty that Hill manages to convey is a million times more difficult that the process of enslavement was.
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*N.B.: The book was published as Someone Knows my Name in the U.S.