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Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Two people—a black woman and a white man—confront the legacy of slavery and racism head-on
“We embarked on this journey because we believe America must overcome the racial barriers that divide us, the barriers that drive us to strike out at one another out of ignorance and fear. To do nothing is unacceptable.”
Sharon Leslie Morgan, a black woman from Chicago’s South Side
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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~ Jackson
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I seldom comment on the books that I read, usually keeping it to a star rating, as writing is not my forte. But this book was special.

Similar in content to Tim Wise's last few books, this one comes with the added bonus of reading two different (sometimes VERY different) views on just about everything they experienced. From visiting each others homes, old neighborhoods, extended families, etc., to traveling to some of the historic places of the past, you are able to read Tom's words and then Sha
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I respect and admire this journey that DeWolf and Morgan have undertaken: to come from two opposing positions in the racial divide, and "gather at the table" in an attempt to reconcile the differences that do divide them. On a literary level, however, the book is quite uneven, and lacks the power and impact it could have had if the narrative had been stronger. At times, they seemed to be two squabbling adolescents, petulantly pursuing their own agendas. As much as this aspect lends truth to the ...more
What do a religious, naive white man from the West Coast and an agnostic, bitter biracial black woman from Chicago have in common? Besides their sense of humor, both had families deeply involved in American slavery. Tom's ancestors were one of the biggest slave trading families while Sharon's ancestors were slaves, then sharecroppers, and now semi-confined to urban ghettos. Despite these divisive issues, Sharon & Tom chose to spend more than a year working together, spending time in each other's ...more
Thomas DeWolf
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: social-justice
The writing of this book has been another life-altering experience for me, and for my co-author Sharon Leslie Morgan. It is exciting to see it on Goodreads - the first place I encountered Gather at the Table online.

Publication date was October 9. Since then, we've been on the road speaking with people at colleges, high schools, churches, museums, and other venues across the United States.

We appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC. Gather at the Table made the "Movers & Shakers" list
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 assumpti
Sharon Orlopp
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book! Unique true journey of a white man whose ancestors were among the largest slaveowners and a black woman whose ancestors were slaves.

Their three year travel journey across America is raw, transparent and poignant. It also gives each of us ideas about having open dialogue about race.
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 ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won't say I agree with everything they said but I do absolutely agree with their idea that to truly go on from something tragic those affected by it need to talk about it and feel the emotions and then they can move through them. I find it ironic that the woman is a black NRA gun toting liberal, it was nice to see acknowledgement that Planned Parenthood is founded on genocide of black people. The authors are a bit myopic in that they think only black people have suffered in this country or tha ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Tom DeWolf, descendant of a slave trading family, and Sharon Morgan, descendant of enslaved people, traveled together around the US and beyond, getting to know each other's families and cultures, visiting historical locations connected to slavery, as well as visiting areas their respective ancestors lived. The narrative sometimes alternates between their perspectives, and sometimes joins to tell their shared truth. I had the pleasure of attending a talk by the authors while reading this book, wh ...more
Esther Bradley-detally
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Gather at the Table is a book about the Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade. Tomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan are the authors. Sharon is a first cousin of Renee Dixon who was a long-time member of the Pasadena Community, now living in Arcadia, CA.

Sharon Leslie Morgan, a black woman from Chicago's South Side, avoids white people; they scare her. Despite her trepidation, Morgan, a descendant of slaves on both sides of her family, began a journey towar
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book after hearing a lecture the authors Tom and Sharon gave in Pasadena. I finished it tonight after going to the Museum of Tolerance in L.A. Needless to say I am more than a little angry and disillusioned with American society. I am also taking a cultural diversity class (the reason I attended the lecture in the first place) for my graduate program at APU. I liked to think that I was pretty aware of racial disparity despite growing up in a tiny town in Nor Cal whose population wa ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book--better than any reality show could be, because it's so real--begs to be read.

A black woman and a white man, who both, yes, were youths during the Civil Rights movement, and who desire peace (i.e. racial justice, awareness of racism and non-violence in families) but are kind of cynical about it happening, let peace begin with them. They travel together, introducing the other to their families and where they grew up, and they visit cemeteries and do genealogical research. The coldness
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that provides a list of other books you want to read.

I enjoyed the transparency offered by each author. What a difficult part of oneself and the world around us to expose to the world. I am inspired to think of how I might do more of the same.

This topic seems to me to be one that is bottomless. Whether looking inward or outward to understand fully the places in us that allow racism, cruelty, bias and oppression doesn't seem possible. It appears that it will always be a journey.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: racial-equity
Gather at the Table has resonated so well with me that I find it to be a perfect supplement to the racial equity work we are doing in my district. I have passed the book on to my supervisor who will hopefully approve the purchase of this book for everyone in our department to read. Sharon and Tom, I admire your courageous journey and hope it will inspire others to find their own journey partners. Thank you for writing this book.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thesis-research
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. The two author's confront, head-on, the enduring legacy of slavery in the United States. We are trained not to talk about these issues outside of a classroom setting because "its in the past."
Kim B
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The authors have attempted to walk in each other's shoes to see and if possible feel the different life and circumstances both have inherited as the result of the slave trade. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Review coming shortly.
Nadine Haney
Mar 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Did not finish. It was boring.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book chronicles the relationship between Sharon (a black woman) and Tom (a white man) and their travels together to various sites related to the history of slavery. They met while participating in the racial reconciliation organization Coming to the Table (CTT). The book is authored by both of them, and intersperses their thoughts and actions in each chapter during a one month journey primarily thru the South to cemeteries, museums, plantations and other place where their histories intertwi ...more
Cherisa B
The message is really important, the journey-both literal and figurative-interesting, and the moral hopeful. It’s good to know there are people taking tangible steps and creating models for how the nation should address our history and legacy of slavery. Perhaps we can make forward motion, maybe we are with discussions of systemic racism in policing procedures, disparities in healthcare during the pandemic, essential workers being mostly poor and black and underpaid while at highest risk, incarc ...more
Lisa Roney
I liked this book--and I thoroughly support its mission--but I expected to be more engaged in the story it told. There are a lot of good things about it, so it's taken me a while, and I'm still not sure I've put my fingers exactly on what I felt was missing. But I think it has to do with the rather standard, sterile voice that the book is written in. There are sections that are supposedly narrated by each of the authors individually, but they both just sounded the same. Every now and then a litt ...more
Aug 04, 2020 added it
From the final chapter: "We can't go back into history and correct the damage at its root, but we can learn from history, walk forward, and influence the future." This is what I had hoped to find in this book, but I was disappointed to find that other than forming an unlikely friendship (which is certainly a good thing), both authors seem to be more focused on the wounds of the past than on walking forward.

Although this book has been on my list to read for several years, I'm glad I didn't pick i
Jim Cavenaugh
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful book that improved my understanding of the need for black-white healing immensely. Tom DeWolf and Sharon Morgan pull no punches, and learning of times in the journey when one or the other was angry makes the book more believable.
Her anger at the continuing indignities she suffers because she is black is all-too-understandable, and the idea that we white people understand racism occasionally while she and other people of color have to live with racism 24 x 7 carries a lot of we
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-books
I admire the bravery it took for both Sharon and Tom to unpack their historical trauma together. I was initially frustrated by the structure of the book, but about halfway through I realized each of their stories unfolded in the way a naturally budding relationship might open up as barriers are navigated and vulnerabilities exposed. By the time I finished, I came away with a list of books I want to read to either gain a better historical context of slavery and events that happened during the sla ...more
Cindy George-mcintosh
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book brought to light that I’m not alone in my thought process and how I manifest the trauma of this awful history. The co-author Sharon’s experiences and reactions seems to mirror exactly how I feel about race relations and this tainted history of ours. Healing is such a long process and I just wish we could all just get along, but it’s so much more complex than that. So complex that I’m sometimes skeptical about whether our nation could ever fully heal this massive wound.
The subject matter and the two authors journeys are 5 stars,this book will make you think about racism in this country from a very different perspective. The reason I gave it 3 stars was because it was a tough read, it read more like a diary or text book, especially in the beginning. Toward middle and end it was an easier read . I would recommend this book though to learn a different perspective on racism in our country and the world.
Found accidentally in an article, don't even remember the source. What a powerful book that actually looks at the hard road of rooting systemic racism in the US. First learn history. Second open up to someone risky of the "opposite" race. Just Wow! ...more
Becca Misuraca
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So informative and moving. A must read!

Very educational yet a joy to read. Highly recommend for all interested in "the other perspectives" and envoi ing change.
Amanda Kyle Barnes
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Subject matter was challenging - the way the perspectives were communicated was beautiful. Important read.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very interesting.
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Thomas Norman DeWolf is an author, public speaker and trainer, and serves as Program Co-Manager of Coming to the Table. He is a certified trainer for Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Changing Your Life

Tom's most recent book, The Little Book of Racial Healing , co-authored with Jodie Geddes, was published by Skyhorse in January 2019. Ruth King calls it a "...rare jewel of practical wisdom show

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