Two people from diverse backgrounds — a black woman and a white man — embarked upon a three-year “healing journey” to attempt to overcome the trauma of historic harms brought on by America’s legacy of slavery and the lingering effects of present-day racism. Illustrated through the stories of their lives—and those of their ancestors — Gather at the Table is informed by trauma healing, restorative justice, and peacebuilding skills the authors learned through their work at Eastern Mennonite University and its STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) and Coming to the Table programs. EMU is an acclaimed resource for peacebuilding, having introduced their healing models in war ravaged countries around the world. Coming to the Table began as an initiative focused on linking descendants of enslaved people with the descendants of those by whom they were enslaved.

Morgan and DeWolf decided to “live” the Coming to the Table model together. The legacy of slavery remains a horrendous and unhealed wound, a disease that must be diagnosed, treated, and cured. The approach shared in Gather at the Table may just make it possible to heal.

This is the story of two people who decided to try.

What follows is excerpted from Gather at the Table, which will be published by Beacon Press in October 2012.