Gather at the Table

The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade

Gather at the Table,  Winner of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for Nonfiction/Biography & Memoir, is the story of two everyday people from diverse backgrounds who are on a mission to overcome the trauma of America’s legacy of slavery and the lingering effects of present-day racism. Over a three year period, the interracial pair traveled thousands of miles through twenty-seven states and overseas, building an improbable relationship. Using genealogy as an undercurrent, they visited each other’s families, ancestral towns, court houses, sites of racial terror, cemeteries, plantations and antebellum mansions, seeking to come to terms with the history out of which racism evolved.

The book illuminates healing models developed at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University through their Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) and Coming to the Table programs. EMU is an acclaimed resource for peacebuilding, having introduced trauma healing models in war ravaged countries around the world. Coming to the Table is an initiative focused on bringing together descendants of enslaved people with descendants of slaveholders; providing leadership, resources and a supportive network for those who wish to acknowledge and heal the enduring wounds. Tom and Sharon hope to inspire a national dialogue about the legacies of slavery and racism and offer practical guidance for individuals and groups dedicated to healing America

Special Discount Option

You can order Gather at the Table directly from the publisher, Beacon Press, to receive a 20% discount and free shipping, PLUS Beacon will donate 10% from each order to Coming to the Table, the non-profit with which Tom has been involved since its founding in 2006. CTTT provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery. Simply enter the promotional code CTTT at checkout.

Also available at your local, independent bookstore or from Amazon.

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

Together, Tom and Sharon allow us to be spectators of their story—witnesses to their discomfort, humiliation, and fear—in order to educate us and thus contribute to healing a nation in the throes of racial upheaval.

Joy Angela DeGruy, Ph.D.

Author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

“I could not put this book down. 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, Ph.D.

Professor of International Peacebuilding; Notre Dame