Noted author Tom DeWolf will host a workshop on racial justice and healing called “Coming to the Table: Beyond the Legacy of Enslavement” on Saturday, Jun. 11, at 5:00 p.m., in the FCCOL Fellowship Hall.
Tom is the author of the 2008 book, Inheriting the Trade, the story of his participation in the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.” The film and the book recount the history of the DeWolf family, who were among the first residents of what would later become Old Lyme. Some members of that family went on to create the largest slaving empire in the U.S., headquartered in Bristol, RI, but with outposts in Cuba and West Africa as well. Tom’s book uncovers that long-forgotten history as he and members of his extended family retrace the journey taken from the shores of West Africa to Cuba to New England. The book also recounts an inner journey, as Tom came to terms with a painful family secret, one that mirrors the story of many communities in the U.S., including Old Lyme – a history built upon the cruelties of the transatlantic slave trade.
Tom has built upon his foundational insights in two further publications: Gather at the Table (2012), cowritten with Sharon Leslie Morgan; and The Little Book of Racial Healing (2019), cowritten with Jodie Geddes. The latter outlines an approach to racial healing that includes four interrelated pillars: uncovering history, making connections, working toward healing and taking action. It’s an approach that exhibits considerable wisdom, and it’s one that may prove helpful to those in Southern New England who are seeking a more hopeful future.
During the workshop, Tom will facilitate an interactive process that will encourage participants to go deeper into their own stories, trusting that even as we examine some of the more difficult features of our shared histories, a healing and restorative power will be at work among us and within us.
Tom will be the guest preacher at our Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. worship service.