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Gather at the Table

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Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade by Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Morgan

Two people-a black woman and a white man-confront the legacy of slavery and racism head-on.  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.

Together, Tom and Sharon allow us to be spectators of their story—witnesses to their discomfort, humiliation, and fear—in order to educate us and thus contribute to healing a nation in the throes of racial upheaval.”

— Joy Angela DeGruy, Ph.D., author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

“I could not put this book down.  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, Ph.D., Professor of International Peacebuilding; Notre Dame

Gather at the Table is the story of two everyday people from diverse backgrounds who are on a mission to overcome the trauma of America’s legacy of slavery and the lingering effects of present-day racism.

Over a three year period, the interracial pair traveled thousands of miles through twenty-seven states and overseas, building an improbable relationship. Using genealogy as an undercurrent, they visited each other’s families, ancestral towns, court houses, sites of racial terror, cemeteries, plantations and antebellum mansions, seeking to come to terms with the history out of which racism evolved.

The book illuminates healing models developed at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University through their Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) and Coming to the Table programs.

EMU is an acclaimed resource for peacebuilding, having introduced trauma healing models in war ravaged countries around the world. Coming to the Table is an initiative focused on bringing together descendants of enslaved people with descendants of slaveholders; providing leadership, resources and a supportive network for those who wish to acknowledge and heal the enduring wounds.

The healing model presented in Gather at the Table involves four interrelated practices: Sharing histories of race with openness and honesty; connecting with others across racial lines; exploring healing through dialogue, ritual, apology, etc.; and actively seeking to heal the pervasive, present-day, structural wounds of racial inequality and injustice.

Tom and Sharon hope to inspire a national dialogue about the legacies of slavery and racism and offer practical guidance for individuals and groups dedicated to healing America.

The Book

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