Stories are a major part of the Coming to the Table approach. Sharing stories helps us connect, identify common ground and learn about things that have been entirely outside of our experiences. Sharing stories related to slavery and its legacies helps us face the topic for all of these reasons. Coming to the Table’s approach includes facing History, making Connections, Healing wounds and taking Action. The stories that we feature on this site will address at least one of the four categories. Some may address more than one, but we have placed them under the heading most applicable. These are stories about how these stages are manifested in real people’s lives and how they are making a difference. If you would like to share your story with us, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured: A COLLECTION OF STORIES: Coming to the Table Community participants share some of what their family history means to them today.
Click on the link to download a PDF file of this beautiful booklet. Included are eleven interviews, each followed by questions designed to encourage reflection.
Here in the North, we have inherited a powerful historical amnesia when it comes to the memory of slavery. Where I live in Massachusetts, we still worship the stories of the Sons of Liberty. We still teach “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” to our school kids…. We are the good guys.
By: Sharon Leslie Morgan
My grandmother, Jennie Waymoth, was a farm girl from Eastern Illinois. Born in 1902, she grew up milking cows on her father’s homestead in Sidell.
Go home. Find out what happened, said the black ghost woman lying dead at the end of my bed one drizzly April evening in the ‘90s. This was the one thing
The window of opportunity has been often looked through, in this country, by those with pale skin and European heritage. David Pettee tells of his experiences finding African Americans with a shared family history, whose ancestors were on the other side of the window looking in.
The transformational nature of the CTTT approach requires that we meet face to face so that we can build authentic relationships, strong enough to withstand the challenges of honestly facing our past, present and future together. National meetings are much too expensive and logistically demanding to provide enough opportunities for “in the flesh” connection and healing.
Coming to the Table will be featured prominently in the upcoming book Gather at the Table, written by CTTT members Tom DeWolf and Sharon Morgan, and due to be released in October by Beacon Press. Authors Morgan and DeWolf used the CTTT model of healing to build an honest interracial friendship over three years and across thousands of miles and twenty-seven states.
Sixty people from around the US met in Richmond, VA March 16-18 for a first-ever National Gathering of the Coming to the Table Community. Roughly half were descendants of people who had been enslaved, about half were descendants of enslavers, and a few were neither.
By: Dionne Ford
When Sheila Reed Findlay used DNA testing to help her trace her family tree, she didn’t expect to learn that she was a biological match to a Virginia family that was white.
In August of 2010 I traveled from relatively cool and mossy Seattle to the humid, cricket-buzzing
heat of southeastern Mississippi for a family reunion I will never forget.
My initial intent for the Slave Dwelling Project was all about saving places often overlooked by American history. It did not take long for the public to realize that someone spending a night in an extant former slave dwelling is indeed something worth noting.
When I began my quest to determine if my family had owned slaves I focused on slavery alone and not the repercussions of it. I quickly learned after meeting descendants of people my family enslaved, that wounds inflicted during the Civil Rights era, a time in which they had been denied educational opportunities and terrorized for demanding change, were much more impactful to them than scars left from slavery.
Read information on updated projects in our Dec. 2010 newsletter here
Sitting under the porch while my parents attended an annual meeting of the
Monticello Association (MA),in the late fifties, it occurred to me that my
Monticello Randolph relatives must include many, many African Americans.
“The common ground and compassion I felt in that circle invited long-suppressed tears to flow.” Descendants of lynching perpetrators and victim share their healing story from the CTTT National Gathering.
By Grant Hayter-Menzies
I was a little over a year old when the Watts Riots broke out in Los Angeles in August 1965. I don’t remember clearly what I first saw of the events, but I do have a memory of frightening violence on the screen of our black and white Magnavox TV set. I saw people hurting each other, and it wasn’t clear from what I was seeing whether the people running or throwing things or being taken down on the ground were the most to be feared or the people chasing them, who looked like the only people I ever saw in my small California foothills town. That is, white people.
From the time we exit the womb until the time we enter the sands we begin to construct our personal narrative. In between these two points a multitude of stories are created, some are significant enough for us to remember and tell over and over again and others are just small remnants of our day to day lives.
Betty Kilby Baldwin, an infant plaintiff in the Betty Kilby vs. Warren County board of education case, knows firsthand the need for personal healing as her family was traumatized by an incident that stemmed from the aftermath of slavery.