Green Festival Speakers

Tom DeWolf


Presenting with Belvie Rooks.
DeWolf was born and raised in Pomona, California. In 1972, he moved to Eugene, Oregon to attend college. He graduated in 1978 with degrees from both Northwest Christian College and the University of Oregon.

DeWolf served on the Oregon Arts Commission for nine years and as a local elected official for eleven. His years of public service focused on the arts, literacy, children's issues, and restorative justice.

In 2001, DeWolf was astounded to discover that he was related to the most successful slavetrading family in U.S. history, responsible for transporting at least 10,000 Africans to the Americas. His infamous ancestor, U.S. Senator James DeWolf of Bristol, Rhode Island, curried favor with President Thomas Jefferson to continue in the trade after it was outlawed. When James DeWolf died in 1837 he was reportedly the secondrichest man in America.

When Katrina Browne, DeWolf's distant cousin, learned about their family's history, she resolved to confront it headon, producing and directing a documentary feature film, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.

Inheriting the Trade is DeWolf's powerful and disarmingly honest memoir of the journey in which ten family members retrace the steps of their ancestors and uncover the hidden history of New England and the other northern states.

DeWolf has been writing full time since 2005. He and his wife, Lindi, live in Oregon. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.