Article by Laura Milcarzyk | Owl Staff
Thomas Norman DeWolf is a descendant of the richest slave trading family in America. Sharon Leslie Morgan has lived with racism most of her life. Together, they co-authored the book Gather at the Table, chronicling a journey that brings healing from wounds left by generations of slavery and racism.
For three years they immersed themselves in each other’s worlds, traveling through 27 states and overseas, visiting historical sites and relatives’ homes. Throughout their journey, they discuss, argue, laugh, and listen, but most importantly, they communicate. In the end, they find healing by overcoming racial divides and developing friendship.
In a visit to HCC, DeWolf and Morgan shared their experiences, hoping to create a dialogue that will start the healing process. Sharoll Love, who coordinated the event, says, “Ready or not, we need it. People may come timidly, but they will come. Some may not want to talk about it and that is okay. But some are ready to take it on.”
At the discussion, Morgan and DeWolf share tidbits from their book. DeWolf is honest about his lack of understanding as a white man, concerning the struggles of African Americans. “I still don’t feel what Sharon does,” says DeWolf. “I can’t. I have no idea what it is like to be black. Her history, her experience, her inheritance, her anguish…are foreign to me.”
After growing up hearing and seeing the violent racial conflicts towards her entire family and even experiencing it herself, Morgan admits to carrying a gun when she is on the road. “I’ve been told point-blank to be very careful when wandering about the South on my own.”
The authors realize there is a tremendous need in America for healing of racial wounds born out of slavery. Morgan says, “My greatest hope is that my descendants, my one son and two grandchildren, will inherit a better world than mine… As I walk this road with Tom DeWolf, I sincerely hope I am building a legacy of hope, justice, mercy and peace.”