The Book of Negroes' Nova Scotia connection
Based on the award-winning novel by Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes tells the story of Aminata Diallo, from her abduction in Africa as a child and trans-Atlantic journey into the slave trade in America, to her escape to freedom in Nova Scotia, and onto her final journey back to her homeland of Africa. The book’s title, The Book of Negroes, is the name of the historic British military ledger that registered 3,000 Black Loyalists who sailed from New York City to Nova Scotia in 1783.
The six-part miniseries, filmed in various locations in South Africa and in Nova Scotia, including the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and the historic town of Shelburne, premiered in early 2015 in Canada on CBC and in the United States on BET.
The Book of Negroes Miniseries Videos
The Book of Negroes Nova Scotia Film Locations
- The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site was used to portray 18th century New York City and Canvas Town.
- The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg portrayed New York Harbour, as well as the dockside scenes in episode 4 where Aminata records names in The Book of Negroes.
- Shelburne was the film site for the location of Aminata and Chekura’s arrival in Nova Scotia, as well as the town scenes for Shelburne in episode 5.
- Bissett Lake Park, part of the Cole Harbour Heritage Park Trails near Halifax, was used to depict Birchtown in the miniseries. The church and cabin used by Daddy Moses in episode 5 were built (and torn down) on site.
- Oakfield Provincial Park was used to portray Upstate New York. Aminata and Sam deliver supplies to the rebel forces and encounter a skirmish. It is also setting for Aminata’s first night of freedom in the woods after fleeing New York.
Behind the Scenes: Photos from The Book of Negroes film locations in Nova Scotia
Birchtown, located near Shelburne on Nova Scotia's South Shore, was home to the first and largest settlement of free blacks outside Africa in the years following the American Revolution. Lawrence Hill's award-winning book, The Book of Negroes, follows the journey of the Black Loyalists to Birchtown and ultimately back to Africa, founding what is current day Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa.
Opening in Spring 2015, the new Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, located on the original settlement grounds in Birchtown, will take visitors through the journey of early Black settlers in Nova Scotia. Visitors to the Centre will be able to research the 3,000 names recorded in the Book of Negroes via the digital copy of the Book of Negroes and view the exhibits and props from the miniseries production, including the costumes worn by the actors and The Book of Negroes document.