The Book Of Negroes | Episodes 3 & 4 – Reactions


Last night was night 2 of The Book of Negroes mini series on BET and I am so excited to see how Aminata’s journey continues. We left off with her discovery that Samuel Lindo aided Mr. Applebee in the sale of her baby.

New York

Aminata traveled with Solomon Lindo to New York, as planned. They travel by boat to Manhattan. Lindo tells her he wants to “repair the damage between us” . He will have her write letters and run his errands while in New York. Yet for Aminata there is no repair for what he did to her. She sees him now as no more than a means to an end.

As they ride into New York she sees Canvas Town a makeshift city of free and runaway slaves who live in shacks and tents.

“Are they free?” – Aminata

“The question is how they live” – Lindo

All I could think when he answered was how owners used manipulation to scare slaves into thinking they could never be better off than when they were with them. He didn’t really answer her question instead he tried to point out how they were living. In a shack town with little food, little clothing, etc. Oh but what he didn’t realize was that to a slave their freedom was so much more valuable than such things. To them freedom was priceless and worth any sacrifice even food and clothing.

Aminata determines in her heart that she will “find her place among them” those free slaves. Aminata always speaks her destiny and holds firm to it despite what her present situation may show her.

“I will not submit to ownership by any man and I will NOT return to Charleston”. -Aminata

Black Sam

When Lindo and Aminata arrive at a tavern in New York she meets Samuel Frances (Black Sam) a black man originally from Jamaica. His father was a sugar cane plantation owner and his mother a slave. At 15, his father set him free with enough money to travel. Sam ended up in New York and learned how to run a tavern. He now owns this tavern and is a respected business man within the city. He has white patrons and speaks freely with the British and American soldiers. Yet what are his intentions towards Aminata?

It can be seen immediately that he has an attraction to her yet his motives are not always clear. Aminata sees an ally in Sam and asks him if a slave can be free in New York. He tells her that he feels New York is “the best place in all 13 Colonies. Many places to hide – to work”. Yet Aminata has no intentions of hiding or working, not for long. She is wanting nothing but a way to make it back home – to Africa.

Sam seems to have ulterior motives throughout the story. He at times seems to want nothing but to help Aminata but there are other times where it seems he is trying to manipulate situations to have her for himself. It will be interesting to see where that all leads. Still, he does become her biggest advocate and hero for her desire to gain her freedom.

“Don’t lose faith. Never lose faith” -Sam

The Revolution

The Revolution begins and Sam tells Aminata that now is the time for her to escape. The British will close the New York harbor and Samuel Lindo will have to leave if he wants to return to the South. Sam gives her provisions and sends her to the woods telling her to stay there for a few days and only return when Lindo has left.

Aminata had taken back her freedom, she may have been in a woods far from her African home but she was free from a man’s ownership.  When she returns from hiding, Sam hires Aminata to work as a bar maid at his tavern. He enlists her to help him smuggle supplies to the Rebels (Patriots) fighting in the woods. Aminata is angered when she realizes where he has brought her. She does not feel that either side is worth fighting for or supporting. Yet Sam tells her otherwise…

“Everyone must choose a side Aminata. Not doing so will get you killed.” -Sam

Canvas Town

Aminata made it to Canvas Town where Sam had told her to look for Claiborne. Claiborne is a runaway slave who helps Aminata to build her own shack and warns her to keep her eyes open. He tells her how the Southern Owners often send spies (even black men) to find their lost ‘property‘. Claiborne’s wife Matilda initially thinks Aminata wants Claiborne for herself. Once she realizes that Aminata’s heart belongs only to her husband she tell her she should find another man.

“Find yourself another buck – there be plenty willing to take a woman who talk fancy like you” -Matilda

I think it is so sad that she felt the only way for Aminata to survive was to find a man. Then I learned Matilda’s story. She was the daughter of a slave woman and her white master. This meant she was born free but that she was never accepted fully by either part of her family. The Master because she was still Negro and her mother because she was free. To her, finding a man was her only way to find stability. I felt for her but I think I understand her as well. she did what she knew to survive. Unlike Aminata she hadn’t had the same foundation of strength and empowerment and instead she sought out the thing she didn’t have – family. In Claiborne Matilda found the family she had always longed for. It didn’t matter to her that he was a runaway slave but more that he loved her and together they were a family.

While living in Canvas Town Aminata teaches the people how to read and write their names. Once again we are seeing how important the power of a person’s name can be. Aminata is giving them something that was denied to them their entire lives. The ability to read, write and keep record of their names. This meant so much.

He Will Find Me

Through every situation in her life of slavery Chekura he has always found her. From the long walk to the sea, on the slave ship, in South Carolina and in Georgia he has always found her. This time would be no different. Here, in New York, Chekura finds her.

He shows up in Canvas Town in the middle of the night searching for her. Claiborne and those who have become Aminata’s family seek to protect her and take him to find out if she knows him. They fear he may be a slave owners pie. Yet when she sees him, she knows. Once again, he has found her.

Freedom

One of the British Officers offer Aminata a guaranteed passage for her and Chekura if she will use her skills of language and writing to make a ledger of all of the Negroes who volunteer to fight for them in a Book of Negroes to help them keep track of those who will be given their freedom and moved once the war is over. Chekura volunteers to fight against Aminata’s wishes and despite their already guaranteed passage. Aminata is hurt and upset. She cannot lose him like she lost her daughter.

When word is sent to Aminata that Chekura has been shot with buckshot and mortally wounded she enlists Sam to help her get to him on the battlefield. Sam uses his standing and reputation with his tavern to gain access and get her there. Aminata finds Chekura and seems to will him back to life. They return to Canvas Town where she nurses him back to health.

The love that Aminata and Chekura have for each other seems unreal. It is that love that has no boundaries or limits. I truly believe their love is what brought Aminata through a lot of the turmoil she encountered.  I think it would be interesting to get a look at what Chekura was actually going through from his side of the story. The times when he was enslaved and working far from Aminata. What did he go through? What held him together? How did he survive?

One day as the people of Canvas Town sat talking Aminata is asked how she met Chekura. Trying to protect him from their judgement she tells a story of meeting him as a child on the walk to the slave ship.  She tries to leave out the part about him kidnapping her. Checker tells them the truth: “I helped the man stealers take people from Africa” Once this is said the other runaways look at him differently.

“You helped them take Miss Nina from her kin?” Matilda

“He was kind to me. He was my companion.” – Aminata

The Book of Negroes

Once the war ended, Aminata was tasked with sitting at the dock and recording the names of those Negroes who served the British during the war and would be gaining their freedom and passage to Nova Scotia. She recorded their names, age, former owners and how they served the British to earn their freedom. They would be kept in a ledger called The Book of Negroes. Aminata would sit and listen to the stories of these people and she felt like she was becoming the storyteller she always knew she was meant to be even as a child.

As I watched the scene I thought how proud each of them seemed to be no matter what their story was. They were who they were. They were given a promise of freedom and they wanted to claim it. They had names and this meant they mattered. Many of them simply wanted to see their names on paper. Written in the book.

As she recorded in the many names in the book a young girl in her mid twenties approached her desk there on the dock. When asked her name she stated…

“My name is Aminata”

It was Aminata!! The very first baby she ‘caught’ aboard the slave ship! The very same baby girl who was born still and Aminata gave breath to reviving her. I was in totally shock! The young Aminata knew of her name and how she came to have it. Her mother had told her the stories. It was amazing how through both of their journeys through this life of slavery they were brought back together here.

A Claim Is Made

Once the book was completed, Aminata and Chekura made their way to the ship. It was time for her to make the next step towards true freedom and getting back home. She and Chekura were expecting a child and she wanted this place, Nova Scotia to be a place of new beginnings.

Yet as they allowed Chekura to board and checked Aminata’s paperwork an Officer appeared.  A claim had been made. Someone wanted her back. She believes it to be Lindo and tells Chekura to go ahead. If he does not board now they will not allow him to board another ship.

Aminata is taken to the court-house and instead of finding Samuel Lindo she sees her original owner Mr. Applebee. He is making claim and wanting to take her back with him. She and her unborn baby. Why? Why does this man feel the right to do this to her. He looks to be sickly and seems determined to make yet another one of her children pay a price that only he seems to set.

Sam once again uses his good standing and reputation as a business man with the judge to obtain a 2 hour delay in that time he somehow locates and brings back Mr. Lindo who brings documented proof that he purchased Aminata in 1973 from Applebee. He is her rightful owner.

I am not sure where or how Sam was in contact with Mr. Lindo and this is one of the reasons I am still unsure of his motives yet this was still Aminata’s salvation from Applebee’s plots. Still when Lindo tries to apologize for his actions so long ago with her daughter Aminata shows no signs of forgiveness. Lindo frees her legally through manumission after the judge dismisses Applebee’s claims but Aminata still refuses to acknowledge him or his apologies.

“You are no Hebrew. I will no longer think of you.” – Aminata

Sam accompanies Aminata to the dock for the next boat obviously having feelings for her but she is loyal to Chekura. As she boards the ship for Nova Scotia I am already anxious to see this part of her journey begin.  Will she make a new start? Will her baby survive the journey? Will take her closer to getting home to Africa?

Have you watched The Book of Negroes?

What do you feel Sam’s true intentions are?

Do you feel Aminata and Chekura will ever make it back to her homeland?

 

Did you miss the first two Episodes of The Book of Negroes? Check out my Reactions to those HERE.

 

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging & Vlogging Communities. As a Brand Ambassador, Tiffany has the opportunity to promote and support the brands she loves the most with her own unique perspective. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 BlogHer VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with Modern Social f/k/a iBlog Magazine and BlogHer. Growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.
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About TheMrsTee

Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging & Vlogging Communities. As a Brand Ambassador, Tiffany has the opportunity to promote and support the brands she loves the most with her own unique perspective. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 BlogHer VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with Modern Social f/k/a iBlog Magazine and BlogHer. Growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.

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