9th Circuit Court American Idol Andi Cumbo-Floyd A People's History of the United States Barack Obama Beacon Broadside Beacon Press Belvie Rooks Brown University Bruce Springsteen Center for Justice & Peacebuilding Children's Defense Fund Civil Rights CNN Coming to the Table Dr. Martin Luther King Eastern Mennonite University Facebook Gather at the Table George Orwell Ghana Goodwin Liu Inheriting the Trade James DeWolf Perry Jim Crow Jon Stewart Jr. Melissa Harris-Perry Michelle Alexander Michelle Obama MSNBC NPR Our Black Ancestry PBS President Obama Sharon Leslie Morgan Sharon Morgan STAR Summer Peacebuilding Institute Susan Hutchison The Daily Show The New Jim Crow Thomas Jefferson Traces of the Trade Trayvon Martin
Most recent posts
Thank you, Ben Affleck. Now what?
Why I LOVE to collect author autographs
Closing lines from books that changed my life
No indictment (and, sadly, no surprise) in death of Eric Garner
Give BOOKS for the holidays! Save $$$ and support a Great Cause!
All The Light We Cannot See
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
Most recent comments
Janis Ian’s “front row guy” (2)
Dara: Hi Tom, My name is Dara and I am from Philadelphia, PA. I enjoyed reading about...
Why I LOVE to collect author autographs (3)
Yoleen: I like to not so much get authors autographs, or any autographs, but an...
TNDeWolf: I've met Sherman a few times, and I participate each year in the program...
andilit: I love this, Tom, because while I don't get it. . . . I totally get it,...
Appearances by Tom
Author Stuff, Writing
Coming to the Table
Gather at the Table
Inheriting the Trade
Race, Oppression, Privilege
Traces of the Trade
Trauma and Healing
Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!
Pomona First Christian ChurchPosted February 27th, 2008 by Tom
The final stop on the first seven weeks of my book tour was coordinated by my mother. This past weekend I was at Pomona First Christian Church, the church I grew up in and where my parents have attended since before they were married there in 1951.
On Friday, February 22, I drove with my dad to Los Angeles where I was interviewed by Sonali Kolhatkar, the host of Uprising, a popular daily radio program on KPFK, Pacifica Radio. I’m not sure when the interview will air (sometime in the next week or so), but when it does we’ll provide a link to it on our new “media coverage” page on the Inheriting the Trade website.
My mother went all out, as did the church pastors, Mike and Julie, to publicize my appearance on Saturday. Mom called or e-mailed pretty much everyone she knows. Beacon Press created a flyer for the event (which Mom and the church mailed out) and notified the local media, including the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (the newspaper, which I worked for as a teenager, put a notice in the paper on Friday; when you click on the link, scroll down to the second story).
At 10:00 on Saturday morning it was clear that everyone’s efforts paid off. Approximately 70 people showed up. Many are people I’ve known since I was a child but haven’t seen in decades. One, Debbie Blackwell (0kay, she may have a different name now, but I don’t know what it is) is about my age and there are home movies of the two of us together at my 3rd birthday party. Sheesh, Mom! I saw my cousin Dick for the first time in over 25 years. My kindergarten Sunday School teacher was there. She’s in her late 90’s. It was great seeing everyone; reconnecting.
Many people wept a bit during my presentation. I suspect it was a combination of the grief people experience when faced with the true legacy of slavery and the fact that little Tommy has grown up and is inviting people to confront such difficult issues. One man in the audience was Mr. Bailey, one of two black men in my church when I grew up. The chapter I wrote about him didn’t make it into the final version of the book. I may clean it up and put it onto my website one of these days. I read my rough version of the time when I spoke with Jim Bailey about Traces of the Trade. I asked him back in 2001 why he attended this all-white church. He told me that if anything was going to change it ought to begin in God’s house.
Okay, typing these words is my incentive. I’ll add this “missing chapter” to the website within the next couple of weeks.
Bottom line is that being at First Christian Church was incredible. I was surrounded by family and friends as well as many people I’ve never met before who were there because of my mom and dad and the church. Mom talked me into staying an extra day. The highlight was that Jim Bailey and I went out to breakfast together before church. I’ll write about it when I add the missing chapter to the website. Suffice it for now to say that my breakfast with Jim was another highlight in my life. I attended the Sunday service and sat between Mr. Bailey and my Aunt Net. Afterward my mom had a table set up for people to get the book who weren’t able to be there on Saturday. I was able to speak with, and embrace, many old friends (and a few new ones).
Then, after kissing Mom and Dad goodbye, I began the long drive home…