Award-winning authors to discuss crossing the racial divide at Fairfield University


Image: Kelley CenterSharon Morgan and Tom DeWolf, authors of the award-winning memoir "Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade," will speak at Fairfield University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18 in the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center Presentation Room. Their talk, "Crossing the Racial Divide," is part of an ongoing series of events on race issues and is free and open to the public.

"Gather at the Table," which won the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for Best Nonfiction, charts the course of its authors – Sharon Morgan, a black woman from Chicago's South Side, and Thomas DeWolf, a white man who descends from the largest slave-trading dynasty in U.S. history. Over a three-year period, they built a personal relationship consciously across and through the racial boundaries erected by slavery and considered how it shapes their lives in the 21st century.

Both Morgan and DeWolf are nationally recognized speakers on the legacy of slavery and racism, as well as interracial dialogue. DeWolf is featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary "Traces of the Trade," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS' series "POV." Morgan is a marketing communication consultant and founder of the National Black Public Relations Society.

"Morgan and DeWolf engage us in reflecting on how the legacy of slavery in the United States still shapes how people in this country interact with each other on a daily basis and how we might do so in better ways in the future," said Jocelyn Boryczka, associate professor and chair of Fairfield's Politics Department. "Their visit to our campus grants Fairfield the opportunity to learn how cross-racial dialogue allows us to advance the Jesuit idea of being men and women in service to others."

Their appearance at Fairfield follows a National Dialogue on Race Day event in September, which drew a standing-room-only crowd, and a November screening and discussion of the Connecticut Public Television documentary "The Color of Justice," which considers race and the juvenile justice system.

Sponsors for the February event are: The Humanities Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences, the department of Politics, English and History, the Center for Faith and Public Life, the Department of Student Leadership and Program Development, and the programs in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Black Studies and the Office of Student Mission & Identity Programs.

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 12, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 159