Healing Slavery’s Wounds at ComingtotheTable.org

Today’s post – Healing Slavery’s Wounds at ComingtotheTable.org – has a number of resources for genealogists who have enslaved people in their family trees or discover slave-holding ancestors.

Healing Slavery’s Wounds at comingtothetable.orgA few weeks ago there was a great article in People magazine of all places called Healing Slavery’s Wounds. It’s a great article, full of individual stories about genealogists who are the descendants of slaves and enslavers who have come to terms with their shared pasts. For some reason, People doesn’t have it online, but you can download a copy here.

The article mentioned a great Web site that’s new to me called Coming to the Table. The About section states:

The Coming to the Table story is about connecting people and the past to the present and future in a way that is relevant for our nation. Housed at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, CTTT was launched when people whose ancestors were connected through an enslaved/enslaver relationship realized they had a shared story that remained untold. Today, they and many others believe that the legacies and aftermath of slavery impact our nation in seen and unseen ways and they are committed to writing and telling a new story about our nation’s past and the promise of our collective future.

A bit about the origins of ComingtotheTable.org

In January 2006, black and white descendants of ancestors linked by a slave/slave-owner relationship, a blood connection, or both came together in a small retreat which took place at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to explore the history of slavery—its legacy and impact on their lives today. They had a longer-term goal to create a model of healing to guide individuals and groups that continue to struggle with racism in the United States and throughout the world….Ongoing partnerships include support for preservation of former slave dwellings. The Slave Dwelling Project is led by Joseph McGill. Several members present the CTTT story nationally and locally from both sides of the racial divide as Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby do. CTTT inspired the book Gather at the Table (Beacon Press, 2012), which 2012 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee calls “an honest exploration into the deep social wounds left by racism, violence and injustice.”

Resources on the ComingtotheTable.org site include:

Confronting Slavery in Your Family’s History
by Susan Hutchison

Contacting ‘Linked Descendants’

Genealogy: Researching Your Family History

Researching African American Family History
by Patricia Moncure Thomas

Resources For Researching Your Family History

Researching Slave Holding and Slave Trading Ancestry
by Rev. David Pettee

Read more about African American genealogy resources at:


For more posts about African American genealogy research, click here.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Sassy Jane Genealogy 31 July 2011 at 10:42 AM

    kin, I’ve read Ball’s book, but I thought it was badly flawed and I hope a more talented author takes on the same topic soon. Ball is so intrusive and constantly abjures the reader to feelings that they could easily reach on their own if he’s just step back a bit. And I find it frankly unbelievable that he goes to a single meeting of a Harlem genealogical society and out of the dozen people there, one is a descendant of slaves from his family’s plantations.

  2. kinfolknews 30 July 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Thanks for posting this! I would have missed it if you hadn’t posted it. Related to this story would be the book “Slaves In the Family” by Edward Ball. While you won’t get research links or places to go with this book it is a truly captivating story. Here’s the link from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Slaves-Family-Edward-Ball/dp/0345431057

  3. Heather Rojo 29 July 2011 at 6:45 AM

    Thanks for providing a link to the article in “People”. I usually only read it at the hair salon, and I’ll still look for it there because all the 20-something hair stylists are in LOVE with the TV show WDYTYA. They’ll love the link and they’ll be picking my brains about their own family trees again when they see this!

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