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Reflecting with Quakers about “These Walls Between Us”: A Memoir of Friendship Across Race and Class

May 2, 2022

A First Monday Lecture with Mary Norman and Wendy Sanford, moderated by K. Melchor Quick Hall
7:30pm - 9pm Eastern Time (US & Canada) via Zoom.

Free to the public! Registration required.

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610-566-4507, ext. 137

Mary Norman and Wendy Sanford, co-creators of These Walls Between Us: A Memoir of Friendship Across Race and Class, will talk with K. Melchor Quick Hall about the book’s themes and possibilities. They invite you to reflect with them on how Quaker values might lead us to break down the institutional and cultural walls that continue to separate racial groups in the US.

Wendy Sanford (left) and Mary Norman (right)

Wendy Sanford (left) and Mary Norman (right)


K. Melchor Quick Hall (she/her/hers) is the author of Naming a Transnational Black Feminist Framework: Writing in Darkness and the co-editor, with Gwyn Kirk, of Mapping Gendered Ecologies: Engaging with and Beyond Ecowomanism and Ecofeminism. She is a popular educator who works with students of all ages. Through Pendle Hill, she co-facilitates an annual writing workshop for people of color with Joanne Daley and Danie “Ocean” Jackson, and a reparations workshop for and with US-based, white inheritors of wealth.

Mary Norman grew up in rural southwestern Virginia during the years of Jim Crow threats to the life and wellbeing of African American citizens. She joined the Great Migration by traveling north for work. Mary worked part-time as a domestic worker for Wendy’s parents and other affluent white families in Princeton, New Jersey, over several decades. During a long career in corrections, Mary became the first female officer in the Mercer County New Jersey correctional system and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. She later mentored several women who, with her support, followed her path to officer status. Mary tended to both of Wendy’s parents in the last months of their lives, and moved back home to provide expert care for her own mother and stepfather during their last years. Mary and Wendy have been creating a friendship for more than sixty-five years.

Wendy Sanford grew up in an upper-middle-class white suburban family in Princeton, New Jersey. During the socially turbulent 1970s, she became a feminist, a lesbian, and a Quaker. A founding member of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Wendy co-authored and edited many versions of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the women’s health and sexuality classic. In her fifties, she began to reckon with her own white skin and the benefits that came to her through being white. Wendy wrote These Walls Between Us: A Memoir of Friendship Across Race and Class, to honor the long friendship between Mary Norman and herself, and to trace for readers the work and learning that helped her to become a more dependable friend. Wendy and Polly Attwood, her spouse of forty-two years, are members of Friends Meeting at Cambridge in Massachusetts.

Read more about this “timely and necessary book,” GOLD winner in Multicultural Nonfiction at the Nonfiction Authors Association, 2022, here.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill.