Genealogist and writer Sharon Leslie Morgan will visit Macon to present her book “Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade” (Beacon Press, 2012). The award-winning book is informed by her extensive genealogical research in Noxubee County.
Morgan begins her visit at the quarterly meeting of the Noxubee County Historical Society Tuesday, Aug. 19. Main Street Macon hosts the author Wednesday, Aug. 20 as she brings an audiovisual presentation of her book to a book signing from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Main Street Macon Welcome Center, 401 Jefferson St.
“Gather at the Table” is the story of two people from diverse backgrounds 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, Morgan and co-author Tom DeWolf, a descendant of America’s most prominent slave-trading family, traveled thousands of miles through 27 states and overseas, building an improbable relationship.
Using genealogy as an undercurrent, they visited each other’s families, ancestral towns, courthouses, sites of racial terror, cemeteries, plantations and antebellum mansions, seeking to come to terms with the history out of which racism evolved.
Dr. John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding at Notre Dame University said, “I could not put this book down. An extraordinary story of an honest, meaningful conversation across the racial divide.”
Sharon Orlopp, global chief diversity officer for Walmart said, “‘Gather at the Table’ is a book that is transformative. It demonstrates the importance of relationships, transparent dialogue and how traveling together can open doors and create bridges for challenging conversations and insights.”
Morgan is the founder of OurBlackAncestry.com, a website devoted to African-American genealogy. Her Mississippi ancestors include one of Noxubee’s first settlers, John Edward Gavin. His son, Robert Lewis Gavin, fathered 17 children with Morgan’s great-great grandmother. Her first book, “My Daddy Is A Cool Dude,” was published in 1975 by The Dial Press and nominated for a Caldecott Medal. She is also co-author of “Real Women Cook: Building Healthy Communities with Recipes that Stir the Soul.”
The Main Street Macon event is free to the public. Books will be available for sale.