Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kara Walker and Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes is going to be broadcast on television as a miniseries, in  2015.

I recently read  the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize-winning book: The Book of Negroes by Canadian writer, Lawrence Hill. I am interested in seeing how the miniseries compares to the book. This book is far from a light read, based on fact and fiction. Regardless, I could not put it down and I think it is an important book for everyone to read, as it gives insight into a part of history that most of us, particularly the white Anglo Saxon population, rather not be reminded of such a shameful and painful past.

I see a parallel between Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes, and Kara Walker's art work. Both are factual, and fictional dealing with the historical subject matter of slavery, violence, racism, gender, identity, and the subjugation of one culture over another. These are not "pleasant" topics, none the less, absolutely necessary stories to tell, because if we don't accept, and acknowledge the ugly and shameful parts of our history, it is bound to be repeated and we close ourselves off to change.

Unfortunately, and disturbingly, slavery, exploitation, violence, and injustice is still ever present today, all over the world, and this is the hard reality. For this reason, it is so essential I want to educate myself about history, seen through the eyes of those who have been so unjustly treated, and relate this to still existing injustices, globally.

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