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Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade Hardcover – October 9, 2012

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Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade + Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

DeWolf and Morgan met through their interest in a group aimed at racial reconciliation but didn’t automatically take to each other. Eventually, DeWolf, a descendent of slave traders and owners (Inheriting the Trade, 2009), saw in opinionated Morgan the ideal companion to help him delve into the trauma of America’s racial history and prospects for recovery. Morgan, descended from enslaved Africans, founded the website Our Black Ancestry. For four weeks, the two traveled through 21 states, Washington, D.C., and the Caribbean, tracing their individual heritages and the common experience of race in America. They visited one another’s families and childhood homes and traced the path of race history through Southern plantations and civil rights movement sites, all while exploring how their friendship evolved “within the context of racial reconciliation.” In their search to become conscious of learned attitudes about race and to work to change them, Morgan struggles with racial anger and deep distrust of whites, while DeWolf confronts long unexamined white privilege, and both share the pain, joy, and exhaustion of a demanding and healing journey. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“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
 
“I could not put this book down. Gather at the Table is 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, PhD, author of The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace
 
“A great introduction to a shared past that ought to be better known.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
“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, and 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

“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, cofounder, Growing a Global Heart

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807014419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807014417
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RVA on October 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If I could will it, this would be required reading and discussion for all colleges. High schools too but it is better to have a grasp of history and social issues. Tom and Susan are their own study.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By monicae on April 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first thing about this book that pops into my head is wow; this should be more widely read. This is basically a journalling of thoughts and feelings of two people searching for ways to address racism in the US with a sprinkling of little known history mixed in to help us all learn where we as a country have been. It ends up being much more affecting than I expected. Full disclosure, my point of view is that of a middle aged, middle class, African-American woman. I was deeply moved by Sharon and Tom. At the beginning of the book Sharon came off to me as bitter, paranoid and a little extreme in her vision of race relations in the US. At the beginning of the book, Tom struck me as overly sensitive and understanding. His view of the world seemed a little more understanding of the existence racism than I generally see in typical white America. In other words (my interpretation of him): "If we could only just communicate more and listen to each other, we can resolve racism". As these two travel to sites of historical reference worldwide, throughout the book, the reader can tell that these authors did not travel and then write the book. They wrote as they went along. There are subtle differences in the phrasing of passages and in their interpretation of events as they went on. More allowances for seeing other points of view. By the end of the book, the authors had changed. Sharon seems less angry as she sees Tom's understanding grow. She sees proof that there can be understanding if people genuinely seek answers. Tom in the end is less hopeful. His journey allowed him to see that the problems are larger than he had ever imagined. I admit that by the end of the book I had an affinity and affection for Sharon, whom I think feels the wounds of racism very deeply.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By njf on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this was an honest and frank discussion of differences experienced as a son of plantation owners and a daughter of slavery. The intense and non-trusting relationships were so very fragile and suspect at the beginning of the journey but gradually they were able to begin to reach out to each other in order to understand their misunderstandings regarding each race and reach a mutual respect and love. Would that many more would undertake opportunity to learn that we are more alike than we are different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Krug on April 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The content is vital for bringing about unity in our nation...it's a must read. The formatting of the book was interesting and made me want to read further. We read it in our book club and had a very lively discussion afterwards. Thank you to the authors who had the courage to take this journey and the perseverance to write about it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Jackson VINE VOICE on February 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My thoughts:
* At first I was leery of reading this book because of the complexity of the issues/barriers on the effects of the legacy of slavery but was still curious on what was encountered on the journey between DeWolf and Morgan and even more curious on what each of their thoughts would be at the end of the journey.
* I believe that honest communication between both sides of an issue is a necessary element for any complex issues, especially a deeply emotional issue where rooted/biased assumptions exist. And honest communication needs effective listening. And by effective listening I mean not just listening to the other side to formulate your arguments against what the opposition is saying but listening to understand their reasons for their pain/arguments especially for emotional and social perceptions which is based in that person's reality. To acknowledge what the other person is saying/feeling/believing and that it is not most important to prove the other person/side wrong but to acknowledge each side and figure out how to move forward with an effective solution and not hopefully not repeat the errors from prior solutions.
* The value of this book for me is that DeWolf and Morgan did have honest communications and effectively listened to each other. Both were predisposed to this because of involvement in finding a way to overcome racial barriers. Their approach to learning/understanding each other was up close and personal as they traveled together as they met each other families, became involved in the researching of each other's ancestors, visited historical places dealing with slavery and shared past experiences why they have the racial opinions that they have.
* The book is quick paced well-written book and once I started reading I did not want to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Andrews on March 29, 2015
Format: Paperback
Although I enjoyed Gather at the Table, I was struck by some omissions and startling revelations in the book. I loathe slavery and its aftermath, and agree it continues to influence the woof and warp of our individual and societal fiber, but I don't think it accounts for all of Morgan's anger. Although she competently and unflinchingly confronts and analyzes the insidious effects of slavery, she does not confront her own contradictions with the same determination. My eyes almost fell out when I read that she embraces corporal punishment. I find it astounding that someone who deplores slavery can believe in a disciplinary method that utilizes physical punishment and submission-- the very foundation of the slave system! Less astounding, but equally disquieting, is her membership in the National Rifle Association. Someone who owns a rifle, as she does, doesn't have to belong to that organization, yet she does. The NRA advocates for gun policies that are known to increase handgun ownership, which put minority communities at greater risk.
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