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Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

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Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story Cover

ISBN13: 9780609610589
ISBN10: 0609610589
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

"We cannot address the place we find ourselves because we will not acknowledge the road that brought us here." No law can ever change the hearts of men. Timothy B. Tyson chronicles the painful legacies of racism in Oxford, North Carolina, in 1970. The events of that year changed his life forever, and Tyson writes about them with the eloquent grace of a novelist.
Recommended by Danielle, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger."

Those words, whispered to ten-year-old Tim Tyson by one of his playmates in the late spring of 1970, heralded a firestorm that would forever transform the small tobacco market town of Oxford, North Carolina.

On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black veteran, walked into a crossroads store owned by Robert Teel, a rough man with a criminal record and ties to the Ku Klux Klan, and came out running. Teel and two of his sons chased Marrow, beat him unmercifully, and killed him in public as he pleaded for his life. In the words of a local prosecutor: "They shot him like you or I would kill a snake."

Like many small Southern towns, Oxford had barely been touched by the civil rights movement. But in the wake of the killing, young African Americans took to the streets, led by 22-year-old Ben Chavis, a future president of the NAACP. As mass protests crowded the town square, a cluster of returning Vietnam veterans organized what one termed "a military operation." While lawyers battled in the courthouse that summer in a drama that one termed "a Perry Mason kind of thing," the Ku Klux Klan raged in the shadows and black veterans torched the town's tobacco warehouses.

With large sections of the town in flames, Tyson's father, the pastor of Oxford's all-white Methodist church, pressed his congregation to widen their vision of humanity and pushed the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family was forced to move away.

Years later, historian Tim Tyson returned to Oxford to ask Robert Teel why he and his sons had killed Henry Marrow. "That nigger committed suicide, coming in here wanting to four-letter-word my daughter-in-law," Teel explained.

The black radicals who burned much of Oxford also told Tim their stories. "It was like we had a cash register up there at the pool hall, just ringing up how much money we done cost these white people," one of them explained. "We knew if we cost 'em enough goddamn money they was gonna start changing some things."

In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic work of conscience, a defining portrait of a time and place that we will never forget. Tim Tyson's riveting narrative of that fiery summer and one family's struggle to build bridges in a time of destruction brings gritty blues truth, soaring gospel vision, and down-home humor to our complex history, where violence and faith, courage and evil, despair and hope all mingle to illuminate America's enduring chasm of race.

Review:

"[An] outstanding personal history....Tyson's avoidance of stereotypes and simple answers brings a shameful recent era in our country's history to vivid life. This book deserves the largest possible audience." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Powerful, wrenching story of a racial killing during the author's North Carolina childhood....One of the most candid and lucent books on race in this or any other year." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[T]his fascinating account shows how major social changes powerfully affect people in a small town. A significant work of memoir and social history..." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Tyson sheds a new light on the struggle for racial justice as he weaves together childhood memories with the realities of present-day Oxford, N.C. — his hometown — where a young black man was killed in the town square by a Klansmen in 1970 and acquitted by an all-white jury.

About the Author

Timothy B. Tyson is a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His last book, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (UNC Press, 1999), won the James Rawley Prize and was co-winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

efrona, December 26, 2006 (view all comments by efrona)
An outstanding personal account and struggle for civil rights. Focusing on a young black mans murder in the south. It?s compelling, well written, with true heart for documenting actions from multiple perspectives and bringing reality to vivid life. Truly this book was written by a gifted writer and one every one should read.
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Luigi, December 19, 2006 (view all comments by Luigi)
This book chronicles the author's journey growing up the racially charged South as he lives through a racially motivated murder, a community's denial, and the repercussions. Despite the grim nature of the theme, it is a warm, personal book that explains the South of the 1970s and 1980s from a grassroots perspective. If you think the civil rights era concluded in the 60s, surprise!! The book has just won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780609610589
Author:
Tyson, Timothy B.
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
History
Subject:
Trials (Murder)
Subject:
Trials
Subject:
Riots
Subject:
Whites
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Oxford
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
Series Volume:
87
Publication Date:
May 18, 2004
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.34x6.42x1.20 in. 1.36 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Crown Publishers - English 9780609610589 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"We cannot address the place we find ourselves because we will not acknowledge the road that brought us here." No law can ever change the hearts of men. Timothy B. Tyson chronicles the painful legacies of racism in Oxford, North Carolina, in 1970. The events of that year changed his life forever, and Tyson writes about them with the eloquent grace of a novelist.

"Review" by , "[An] outstanding personal history....Tyson's avoidance of stereotypes and simple answers brings a shameful recent era in our country's history to vivid life. This book deserves the largest possible audience."
"Review" by , "Powerful, wrenching story of a racial killing during the author's North Carolina childhood....One of the most candid and lucent books on race in this or any other year."
"Review" by , "[T]his fascinating account shows how major social changes powerfully affect people in a small town. A significant work of memoir and social history..."
"Synopsis" by , Tyson sheds a new light on the struggle for racial justice as he weaves together childhood memories with the realities of present-day Oxford, N.C. — his hometown — where a young black man was killed in the town square by a Klansmen in 1970 and acquitted by an all-white jury.
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