Synopses & Reviews
When Thomas Norman DeWolf learned he descended from the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history, it changed his life. He became sensitized to white privilege, America's history of slavery and the continuing legacy of racism. He participated in a family journey that resulted in the Emmy-nominated film Traces of the Trade
and the publication of his book Inheriting the Trade
Sharon Leslie Morgan's epiphany came as she researched her family genealogy and found at least a dozen people who had been enslaved. That some of these ancestors were fathered by white men exacerbated feelings of alienation and anger. She re-visited the past to make sense of her present and helps others do the same through her Our Black Ancestry website.
In 2008, Tom and Sharon embarked upon a "healing journey." They committed to learning more about the legacy of slavery, its impact on their lives, and the implications for people throughout the United States and internationally.
Two people from diverse backgrounds share the stories of their lives, those of their ancestors, and their journey together. Gather at the Table offers productive ways to discuss race using an approach that leads to understanding and healing for individuals and communities.
"Sharon and Tom take us on a heart-opening journey of awakening. As a nation, we owe them a deep bow of gratitude as they help us navigate the deep divides of race and otherness." Belvie Rooks, Co-Founder, Growing A Global Heart
"An extraordinary story of an honest, meaningful conversation across the racial divide. At times it hurts to read. And well it should. Centuries of injustice and trauma that face us every day in this country have no place for half-truths. Sharon and Tom took the harder road — searching for healing, they literally walked together into painful histories and found authentic friendship." John Paul Lederach, coauthor of When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation
"Gather at the Table is an honest exploration into the deep social wounds left by racism, violence and injustice, as the authors work through their own prejudices in search of reconciliation — and ultimately find friendship." Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
"What a courageous journey — communicated in an engaging, readable style, with candor, humor, and deep feeling. This book shed light on the thoughts, questions, and feelings I have about race, society, culture, historical, generational and structurally-induced trauma — and the human ability to transcend. In reading it, I realized there are questions I'm still afraid to ask about race, things I'm afraid to say, and yet I realized anew the power of acknowledgment, mercy, justice, and conflict transformation. I'm grateful to DeWolf and Morgan for not just taking the journey, but for sharing their story with us." Carolyn Yoder, Founding Director of STAR: Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience and author of The Little Book of Trauma Healing: When Violence Strikes and Community is Threatened
"The authors' accomplishment stands on its own, but their book also serves as a great introduction to a shared past that ought to be better known." Kirkus Reviews
Thomas DeWolf — a descendent of slaveholders — and Sharon Morgan — a descendent of slaves — come together to openly discuss how the legacy of slavery and racism has impacted their lives. Together, they disclose the various difficulties and rewards they experience as individuals striving to heal. Gather at the Table is a timely, candid, and deeply relevant book that offers an engaging model of restorative justice.
About the Author
Thomas Norman DeWolf, author of Inheriting the Trade
, is featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary film Traces of the Trade
, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and on the acclaimed PBS series POV.
DeWolf speaks regularly about healing from the legacy of slavery and racism at conferences and colleges throughout the United States.
Sharon Morgan is a marketing communications consultant and a nationally recognized pioneer in multicultural marketing. An avid genealogist, she is the webmaster for OurBlackAncestry.com and is a founder of the Black Public Relations Society.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Joy Angela DeGruy, PhD
Part One: Crossing the Rubicon
Chapter One: The Recalcitrant Bat
Chapter Two: Castaways from Security Island
Chapter Three: Friends on Purpose
Chapter Four: Lizard Brain
Part Two: Shades of Gray
Chapter Five: Many Rivers to Cross
Chapter Six: The Past Is Present
Chapter Seven: Colored Water
Chapter Eight:Cycles of Violence
Part Three: Forks of the Road
Chapter Nine: Grave Matters
Chapter Ten: The Crossroads of Liberty and Commerce
Chapter Eleven: Truth Be Told
Chapter Twelve: The Devil’s Half Acre
Part Four: Truth, Mercy, Justice, and Peace
Chapter Thirteen: Ripples on a Pond
Notes on Methodology