I had high expectations for “The Coming” by Daniel Black. Over the past few years, I’ve read several books about slavery and this book caught my eye because of its focus on the Middle Passage. Positive reviews and high ratings praised “The Coming” for capturing the emotions that enslaved Africans might have felt being snatched from their villages, enduring a grueling voyage, and finding themselves traded like chattel in a strange land.
The Book of Negroes (aka Someone Knows My Name) is a great work of historical fiction. The story weaves together the Revolutionary War, the Book of Negroes, migration of Black people to Nova Scotia and Liberia, and the abolitionist movement in London. It’s clear that the author did a lot of research and the historical events provide a rich backdrop for the story.
Homegoing is a work of historical fiction but it’s a good jumping off point for venturing into the history of the Black diaspora. If you’re a fan of Roots, you’d also enjoy Homegoing. I’d especially recommend the book for young adults and adults who are trying to get into reading. The book and chapters are quite short which makes it very easy to pick up the book, read a chapter, and put it down. It’s not the kind of book that requires a lot of focused time.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Cora, a young slave woman who makes plans to escape with a fellow slave, Caesar. I decided to read The Underground Railroad after seemingly seeing it everywhere. I thought the book was pretty good but not as amazing as I expected it to be. By all means, The Underground Railroad is a solid book but I still don’t get why it was being pushed as an amazing novel. I enjoyed the book but it wasn’t life changing.
Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr. follows three main characters at the end of the Civil War. Tilda, a former slave woman freed by the end of the war. Her estranged husband, Sam Freeman, who had been a slave but managed to escape to the North. And Prudence Kent, a White woman from Boston whose father was wealthy. It was an emotional roller coaster that had me in my feelings at quite a few points.