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The Role of Relationships in The Book of Negroes

            The relationships in the novel, "The Book of Negroes," are significant to the development of the protagonist, Aminata, in many ways. Through Aminata's relationship with Mamadu Diallo, Georgia, Mamed, Solomon Lindo, John Clarkson and Chekura: Aminata learns valuable lessons that aid her on the journey to freedom. To begin, Aminata Diallo comes from the West African village of Bayo. She is multilingual and is able to read and write in Arabic. At the age of eleven she is taken from her homeland and sold into slavery. The novel shifts between past and present and follows her journey from South Carolina to London to find her freedom. Aminata is an only child raised by her mother, Sira, and her father Mamadu. Mamadu teaches Aminata many lessons about interactions with others. When she expresses her dislike for a woman in her village her father tells her she must learn respect.[.] Then you must learn to hide your disrespect (21). Mamadus lesson teaches Aminata how to act in different situations that further help her in the novel with interactions with several characters. When Aminata arrives in South Carolina she is a young girl on the brink of death. Georgia a woman on the plantation nurses her back to health. She teaches Aminata some English, how to work around the plantation, how to act around white men and secrets about being a midwife. Georgia makes Aminata memorize the different kinds of medicine: She made me remember every detail. In the blue-black pouch went thyme, for speeding delivery and bringing away the afterbirth. In the deep-water-blue pouch went jimsonweed, which she kept as a secret weapon to bring on madness (144). This information stays with Aminata forever. She uses Georgias teachings later in the novel to start her own midwife business that serves her well. Georgia teaches Aminata how to speak English, however, Mamed a helper of the plantation owner, teaches her how to read and speak proper English.

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