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From the Archives: Two-Year Racial Healing Initiative Begins in Kalamazoo

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NOTE: This interview aired on Morning Edition on WMUK on Nov. 8, 2012. 

A woman descended from slaves and man whose ancestors bought and sold slaves speak in Kalamazoo this weekend about racial healing. Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan are the authors of "Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade." They spoke with WMUK’s Andy Robins and EarleneMcMichael. 

DeWolf is the descendent of the nation’s largest slave trading family. He wrote an earlier book about his exploration of that heritage called Inheriting the Trade. He met Morgan, the founder of the National Black Public Relations Society, during a conference three-and-a-half years ago. Afterwards they decided to begin a personal journey towards racial reconciliation. 

DeWolf says white people “need to do a better job of educating ourselves and listening to the voices of other people who aren’t like us.” Morgan admits that she’s had a hard time relating to whites because of her family’s experience of racism. But she hopes that Americans will eventually reach the “Promised Land” sought by Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior, in which people are judged by their character, not the color of their skin. 

Morgan and DeWolf will speak on Sunday, November 11th (2012), at 3 p.m. in the Light Fine Arts Building at Kalamazoo College. The event is co-sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society; the Kalamazoo YWCA; the Arcus Center for Social Justice at K College; Western Michigan University; the Kalamazoo Valley Museum; the Kalamazoo and Portage public libraries; and by the Calhoun Racial Impact Alliance. It’s part of the two-year Racial Healing Initiative organized by the alliance.

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