01x01 - Episode 1

Episode transcripts of the TV mini-series, "The Book of Negroes" . Aired February 2015.
Kidnapped in Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate a revolution in New York, isolation in Nova Scotia and treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, in an attempt to secure her freedom in the 19th century.
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01x01 - Episode 1

Post by bunniefuu »



I seem to have trouble dying. By all accounts, I should not have lived this long.

I am Aminata Diallo, daughter of Mamadu Diallo and Sira Kulibali. I was born in a village called Bayo in what you call Guinea. I knew from a young age I would be a djeli, a storyteller. I would see... and I would remember.


Push, mama, push!


(baby crying)

Small hands are good, and you use them well, Aminata.

(Baby gurgling)

(general hubbub)

man: The men stealers took a farmer.

That's his blood. (Insects buzzing)

Let's get home before dark.

Aminata: Have you seen the moon slide behind clouds?

People started slipping away like that.

But unlike the moon, they never came back.

(disturbing bird cries)

The men stealers do not know this path to Bayo.

(strange animal scream)

(people talking in the distance)

(cow mooing)

(people talking)

(animal bleating)

Aminata: Fanta was the chief's youngest wife, always bossing us around.

She didn't like me and I didn't like her.

My father made jewelry.

He was the only man in the village who had a copy of the Qur'an. From him, I learned Fulfulde and how to read and write in Arabic.

Islam was spreading across the land, and in Bayo, my father was among a few converts.

Read what you wrote.

- "Allah akbar."


Very good.

Now, keep practicing.

No more. No more travelling so far to bring babies into the world.

Women in other villages have babies too, and your daughter needs to learn the trade.

I will not allow it, it's not safe.

I have walked this country my whole life.

I will travel as freely as anyone.

I will go with you the next time.

No, you will not.

I'm coming with you!

Where are we?

Near the creek where the 2 boys disappeared.

And which way home?

That way where the sun sets.

Which way to the Joliba river in Timbuktu?

That way, but it takes many moons to walk to Timbuktu.

One day, you'll take me there to pray.

Now, show me the way home.

Remove the blindfold.


(Monkey screaming)

Find your way home, Aminata.

(insects chirping growing louder)

(wood cracking)

I heard you coming.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

(people talking)

(rooster crowing)

Ha! Ha! Ha!

Let me tell you about Mamadu Diallo, the gold jeweller and Sira Kulibali, the catcher of babies.

Aminata: Ber djeli recited each person's history going back many generations.

When a djeli d*ed, knowledge of our village would disappear unless it had been passed to someone else.


It was not in my family line, but becoming a djeli was what I always dreamed of.

(tribal singing with drumming)

(kids laughing)

(a woman laughing)

Not a word, woman, I'm coming with you to catch this baby.

Go on, lead the way.

If they give us a chicken for catching the baby, we'll roast it over the f*re.

Can we have plantain too?

Fried or boiled?

Fried is better.

Mama, when you bring a baby into the world, will she live a long life?

As long as babies are being caught, the world will go on.

Will we be home before Monday?

(Aminata whimpering in fright)

(screaming and grunting)

Ah! Let me go! Let me go!



Aminata, run!

Argh! Papa! Mama!




Papa! Papa!













Mama! Papa!

(Aminata weeping)

(people screaming)


(prisoner talking in foreign language)

Aminata: I wondered what my father and mother would tell me to do. Keep walking. Don't fall. As I walked over and over again, I heard my father's words, "Aminata, find your way home."

I'm Chekura I'm a Bamanan like you.

I heard this woman called you Aminata.

Here, drink some water.

(man speaking foreign language)

(another man talking in foreign language)

You... (speaking foreign language) ... give me that mango.

I only have the one.

Speak to the boy who gave it you.

I see him watching you.

(She spits.)

Leave me alone.

(crowd clamoring)

(She yells.)

(Aminata praying in Arabic)

No praying.

(Amania continues praying.)

I said, no praying.


(whip lashing)

(Aminata screaming)


(boy talking indistinctly)

Now, you can walk free.

It will take us a day to cross the sands.

Your moons are beautiful.

You are from the village of Kinta.

How did you know?

I've seen those marks before.

In your village, how did they know you?

My name's Chekura Tiano.

I bet my mother caught you.

Caught me doing what?

Being born.

She catches babies and... I always help her.

What is your mother's name?

My mother is d*ad.

How could you do this to us?

After my mother d*ed, my uncle sold me for 20 chickens and a goat.

More than you're worth.

I'd take 10 chickens and forget the goat.

(Chekura chuckles.) I am no more free than you are.

man: Alright, get up! Let's move!

(birds singing)


man: Right now, halt!

man: Halt!

Is that a man or an evil spirit?

It is a man, but not a man that you want to know.

Soon, we will walk down to the big river.

Are you my captor or my brother?

man: Here, boy!

Come here.

Go now.

Come on, you move! Move!

(disquieting music)

(seagulls squawking)

The big river touches the sky.

(indistinct talking)

man: One line! Get on line!

They will hold you overnight at Pan's Island.

Tomorrow, they will take you to a big canoe.

You are one of the lucky ones.


Others have been dying slowly waiting for their boat to fill up, but you won't have to wait.

Soon, we'll be parted.

Beware of your beauty among the strangers.

I won't go.

You will go or you will die.

I will return back home.

I have taken many people to the sea, but not once, have I seen a man return.

I'll sleep by day and walk by night until I see my village again.

Aminata Diallo.



(insects chirping)

(inaudible screaming)



(people yelling and screaming)

(people shouting and screaming)



No! No!

(Indistinct shouting)

(man screaming)

(men moaning and grunting)

(chicken clucking)

(Aminata panting)

All right.



Jesus! Overboard!



woman: Oh! Oh no! Do not!

(Aminata screaming)

You must let him!


(woman crying and yelling)

DaSilva, what's the holdup?

The girl says she can help woman bear her child.

Can she deliver the baby?

She says her mother taught her.


(woman crying) Baby...


Bright one, this wench. Let the mother be.

See that she's looked after.

You help me, I help you. Yes?

Take her chains off.

man: Get up!

(men yelling)

(talking in foreign language)

(song in foreign language)

(sheep bleating)

(indistinct talking)


Go! Get down!

(indistinct talking and moaning)

Move it!

Sister... where you're from?

Bayo, near Segu.

I'm Biton. I'm a chief. Don't be afraid.

I'm Aminata. I heard we will soon leave.


Good, we've been here for many moons dying in this filth and heat.

Now, remember my name. It is Biton.


I am Rono!

Say my name!


I want to leave!

We must all leave.

Who wants to die in an anus of a lion?

Sister Aminata says, "Who wants to die in the anus of a lion?"


I am Abiba.

Sister, say my name.

Abiba. Live, Abiba, live!

I am Adreysa.




Alasanay Alasanay.



















Oloquaday Oloquaday Ousama.


(sheep bleating)

(man shouting orders)


That's my name. Tom.


And you are... Mary.

That's your new name.


Aminata Diallo.



It's a map of the world.

We are here... and we're going... here.

Aminata... this is water.




(Aminata gasps.)

Tom: It's just my parrot.

(Tom sighs.)

(indistinct conversations)

(man coughing)

(woman screaming)

Ah... Ha ha ha!

(woman panting)

It's not breathing.


(baby taking a breath)

(baby crying)

What is it?

A girl.

I will name you... Aminata.

(baby still crying)

(tribal drumming)

(man laughing)


(man laughing)

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

(The drumming continues.)

(door opening)

(She gasps.)

Look at this.

(man singing softly in foreign language)

When the fighting starts, go to the doctor's place and I will find you there.



(man still singing)

(DaSilva panting)

(cutting skin)

(DaSilva choking)

(Fanta grunting)


(Tom laughing)

(men cheering)

(man laughing)

(screaming and fighting sounds)



(Tom grunting)




man: Stay down there!

No! No!

Survive this crossing, daughter of Mamadu and Sira.


(baby crying)


(baby babbling)

man: Keep moving!

Get up!

Keep moving!

Come on! Hurry!

(soft moaning)

(footsteps approaching)

(people talking in foreign language)

Is my face on f*re?

Smoke come from my mouth.

Is my tongue on f*re?

No, no. No f*re.

Smoke come from your mouth too.

Are we under a spell?

Are we slowly burning on the inside?

f*re's hot...

I feel cold like when I come from the river.

(bird cawing)

Aminata, you must live.

Remember your mama and papa.

One day, I will go back home across the big river.

Come! Come!

Come. Stay close.

(bell tolling)

Move it along!

And if they separate us?

We will find each other.

Next up, we have a young buck.

Teeth all in, solid bones, gonna muscle up real good. Do I hear... 5 pounds sterling? Thank you, sir. And then 6.

And 7. And I have 8 pounds. 8 pounds sterling.

8 pounds sterling for the fine young buck.

Any advance on 8? 8 pounds, 8 pounds,

8 pounds sterling. Any advance on 8 for this fine young buck?

Go once, twice. Fair warning.

Sold to the gentleman with the black hat.

Aminata Diallo!

Chekura Tiano!

Next up, we have this young wench still growing. Make a fine field worker.

Be making babies in no time at all.

Do I hear 9 pounds?

9 pounds sterling for this fine field hand. 9 pounds sterling.

You double your money in a year, quadruple it once she's ripe for breeding.

9 pounds sterling.

5 pounds sterling.

5 pounds sterling.

5 pounds. Somebody advance on 5?

5 pounds, I have 5. Once, twice, Fair warning. Sold to Mr. Robertson Appleby for 5 pounds sterling. Bargain of the century, sir.

And next up, we have a mother and child combo.

(Baby crying)

Definitely a breeder, proof and all.

Do I hear 12 pounds sterling?


10 pounds? 10 pounds. Thank you, sir.

I have 10 pounds. And 11. Thank you, sir. 11.

Do I... ? 12. I have 12 pounds. 12 pounds sterling.

Any advance on 12? 12 pounds sterling.

(horse whinnying)

(people talking indistinctly)

man: You, over here!

Did you get the Peruvian bark? I know you don't like to spend, but who else is gonna keep these people alive?

I need my Peruvian bark.

There is your bark, Georgia. There's your bark.

Why that man insist on buying these wild folk straight off the boat is beyond me.

Ain't eaten in 2 months, sicker than the sickest dogs.


Why, this one here is sensible.

Right off the boat and asking for water.



Let's take her to the hutch.

Just ain't had some food and fresh water.

Nothing wrong with her?


(dog barking outside)

I be Georgia, child.



Yes. Georgia.

Who you be, baby?


I'm gonna call you Mina.



Lift up.

Drink this. This will help you rest.

A little sip.

Yeah, I know it's liquor. Ha!

You'll be safe here, baby.

You go to sleep now.

Go to sleep. Rest.

(rooster crowing)

Wake up, child.

Got a long way to go to catch this baby.

(sinister music)

Only by learning about the white man could I ever escape and find a way back home.

You sold my daughter.

I gave your daughter a better life.

Announcer: The Book of Negroes presented by TD, continues next Wednesday at 9:00 on CBC.
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