CBC will offer special programming this summer in recognition of Emancipation Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery across the British Empire on August 1. Based on the award-winning novel by Lawrence Hill, acclaimed CBC original miniseries THE BOOK OF NEGROES (3×120) will receive an encore broadcast as a three-night special event, Sunday, July 26 through Tuesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem, followed by Ken Burns’ documentary series JACKIE ROBINSON (2×120), telling the story of famed Black baseball player Jack Roosevelt Robinson, Sunday, August 2 and Monday August 3 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. On Saturday, August 1, CBC Arts will partner with Ngozi Paul and Emancipation Arts to present FREE UP!, the annual youth-led celebration of Emancipation Day featuring music, theatre, spoken word and dance, with more details to be announced soon.
Additionally, new Black Stories Collection now available on the free CBC Gem streaming service, showcasing Black creators and stories from Canada and around the world
On Sunday, July 26 leading into the first night of THE BOOK OF NEGROES, CBC TV will feature special programming starting at 6:30 p.m. (7 NT) with CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS – REFLECTION AND RESISTANCE hosted by Amanda Parris, dedicated to Black artists who are trying to create in the midst of an uprising. Starting at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT), Asha Tomlinson will host BEING BLACK IN CANADA, a special hour of news, current affairs and arts content including new interviews and insights with Hill and the miniseries’ creators and cast.
Also on July 26, CBC will launch an expanded BEING BLACK IN CANADA website featuring the stories and experiences of Black Canadians. The site will showcase profiles, opinion pieces, video, audio, and a wide breadth of content across CBC including news, documentaries, arts and other programming. The website will not only tackle controversial stories, but will also highlight success and historical content that the Black community can take pride in.
Produced by Conquering Lion Pictures and Out of Africa Entertainment, THE BOOK OF NEGROES originally premiered on CBC TV in January 2015 to record audiences and went on to win ten Canadian Screen Awards. The series follows young Aminata Diallo (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, Between and Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us), who is abducted from her village in West Africa and forced into a slave coffle where she must endure a horrific ocean crossing. She is brought to a South Carolina plantation where she makes herself useful by using midwifery skills learned at her mother’s side, all the while keeping the attention of her jealous slave master, Robinson Appleby (Greg Bryk, Frontier), at bay. Soon after Aminata reencounters Chekura (Lyriq Bent, She’s Gotta Have It), a fellow slave from West Africa, and they are married in a clandestine ceremony. When their first baby is brutally abducted and sold by Appleby she vows to return one day to her homeland. The miniseries also stars Allan Hawco, Jane Alexander, Cara Ricketts, Sandra Caldwell, Ben Chaplin and Oscar®-winning actors Lou Gossett Jr. and Cuba Gooding Jr. THE BOOK OF NEGROES is executive produced, directed and co-written by Clement Virgo, from the novel by Hill (who also co-wrote the script), and produced by Damon D’Oliveira.
Emmy® Award-winning documentary series JACKIE ROBINSON, directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon for PBS, tells the story of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who rose from humble origins to break baseball’s color barrier and waged a fierce lifelong battle for first-class citizenship for all African Americans that transcends even his remarkable athletic achievements. A fierce integrationist, Robinson used his immense fame to speak out against the discrimination he saw on and off the field, angering fans, the press, and even teammates who had once celebrated him for “turning the other cheek.” After baseball, he was a widely read newspaper columnist, divisive political activist and tireless advocate for civil rights, who later struggled to remain relevant as diabetes crippled his body and a new generation of leaders set a more militant course for the civil rights movement.