The Book of Negroes Book Two Pages 103-163

In the first portion of the second book in The Book of Negroes, they detail Aminata’s transition to life in Carolina and slavery under Robinson’s plantation. She quickly takes on a new name, Meena, due to an error in communication when meeting Georgia, and begins a new life where she learns to speak like the negro and the white men. She learns quickly of the way things on the plantation run and what is expected of her. She takes on new jobs and completes them quickly, gaining the favour of Mamed and Robinson. Georgia takes her to catch babies when she is required at another plantation, she is given different jobs, separate from the rest of the slaves. Mamed learns of Aminata’s faith and wishes to teach Aminata to speak and read, and become the favourite of the white man, to give her a fighting chance at surviving the slave world.

I was given a different view on how slavery on plantations work and how the slaves are treated. At the same time, I always have to call into question the accuracy of the historical information and whether or not these events could actually take place. I found it interesting that Aminata is often shown favouritism in several different situations due to her excellence in academics and work. She is able to pick up language, work, and logic extremely quickly which is depicted as a bad thing from other characters but rarely ever seems to prove severely detrimental to her. In conclusion I have many questions about the book but seeing as I am only part way through they may be answered later on.

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4 Comments

  1. I also found that the way Aminata’s treatment on the plantation was portrayed was contrary to what I was taught. I can only presume that you were taught, as I was, that slavery was much worse than it is being portrayed by Aminata. Undoubtedly, slavery is inexcusable and a great shame on humans as a whole. However, after being taught that slaves were regularly beaten, raped or killed I was shocked by how easy it was for Aminata to create a life on the plantation where she had friends, a lover, and a teacher. I also thought that it was rather odd that Aminata has not been punished for being intelligent – I know that her intelligence is threatening – but I wonder how much of Georgia’s warnings came from jealousy that Georgia was not as smart as Aminata and never would be.

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  2. In real history, Aminata would have been punished – a good point that you’ve brought up. Appleby, who is not terribly smart himself, would have seen her as a threat and not only raped her, but done so repeatedly, and with a vengeance. He would have been intent on making an example of her through her punishments. Whippings, in this book, are rarely touched on, but Aminata likely would have become an intimate friend of the whipping post had Hill found this story a true one in the pages of history.

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  3. your responses are so on point it’s great! I feel like a huge key as to why she was favoured so much was her beauty as well, would you agree? I feel like her beauty is what saved her from a lot of damage but also but her into a lot of heart breaking tragedies and memories that scar her mind for life. its hard to stay under the radar when beauty is a huge play in what the white men in this novel are looking for.

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  4. I believe that a good explanation for why Aminata seems to be better off than many of the slaves you hear about in the history books is that it is quite likely that slavery was greatly exaggerated by the abolitionists in hopes of destroying the establishment faster. By no means was being a slave a pleasant experience, however, I do not believe that much of what the abolitionists claimed was true.

    At the end of the day, the people who hired slaves were business people. They hired slaves because they could gain excellent value from these people for no payment other than the original purchase. I do not believe that slave owners owned slave because they hated blacks. That being said, many of the atrocities committed by these slave owners were terrible, and it is clear that although hatred may have not been their primary purpose for employing slaves, there was still much hatred for blacks amongst many slave owners.

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