Slavery, Racism, Healing Focus Of Residency

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 10:39am

Tom DeWolf, a descendant of one of the richest slave trading families in the U.S., and Sharon Morgan, whose ancestors were slaves, will present a special “Two People, One Journey” residency at JCC’s Jamestown Campus February 10-12. All events are free and open to the public.

Poster for the Gather at the Table residency featuring an image of a family tree and the phrase "Two People, One Journey"The residency features a screening of DeWolf’s Emmy nominated documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North at 7 p.m. on February 10 in the Student Union, located in the Hamilton Collegiate Center. Afterwards, DeWolf will discuss the background of the film.

On February 11, DeWolf and Morgan will present “Gather at the Table” at 7 p.m. in Scharmann Theatre. The program, based on their book, Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade, examines how social and racial history can inform one’s knowledge of past injustices while instilling thoughtful discourse on contemporary issues.

Gather at the Table earned the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for best non-fiction and is, as DeWolf notes, a living model of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“History and Healing: Two Perspectives” will be presented at noon on February 12 in Scharmann Theatre. DeWolf and Morgan will outline ways in which to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism. Examining history, building connections between those with different experiences, healing harmful effects, and taking action to stop perpetuating damaging beliefs and structures will be explored.

DeWolf is the author of Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History (Beacon Press). In 2001, he traveled with nine distant relatives on a life-altering journey through New England, Ghana, and Cuba to film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. An official selection for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Traces of the Trade premiered on the PBS series “P.O.V.”

As DeWolf notes, “On the surface, Inheriting the Trade is a story about the legacy of slavery and how it continues to impact relationships among people of different races today. By digging deeper, readers will see connections between racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and oppression along class, age, and other lines.”

Morgan is the founder of OurBlackAncestry.com, a website devoted to helping people appreciate and explore African American family history and culture. Her first book, My Daddy Is A Cool Dude, was nominated for a Caldecott Medal for children’s literature. She is also the co-author of Real Women Cook: Building Healthy Communities With Recipes that Stir the Soul.

Morgan has been researching her family history in Lowndes County, AL and Noxubee County, MS for more than 25 years. She is a member of several genealogical associations including the National Genealogical Society, the African American Historical and Genealogical Society and local societies in the geographic areas of her research.

A staunch advocate of social justice, Morgan is actively involved with Coming to the Table, an organization that promotes linkages between descendants of people who were enslaved and descendants of the families that enslaved them for the purpose of healing from the trauma of slavery.

Additional information can be obtained by calling 716.338.1047.