Blood Done Sign My Name

Blood Done Sign My Name

A True Story

Book - 2004
Average Rating:
3
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"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 ofTo Kill a Mockingbird,Blood Done Sign My Nameis 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.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, 2004.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780609610589
0609610589
Call Number: 975.6535 TYSON
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: Tyson, Timothy B. -- Childhood and youth.
Oxford (N.C.) -- Biography.
Oxford (N.C.) -- Race relations.
African Americans -- North Carolina -- Oxford -- Biography.
Whites -- North Carolina -- Oxford -- Biography.
Riots -- North Carolina -- Oxford -- History -- 20th century.
Trials (Murder) -- North Carolina -- Oxford.
Murder -- North Carolina -- Oxford -- History -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Crimes against -- North Carolina -- Oxford -- History -- 20th century.
Murder.
Civil rights movements.
Civil rights.
Civil rights movements -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.

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Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Feb 23, 2016

Blood Done Signed My Name is both a historical account and a memoir. Timothy Tyson describes his memories of being an 11 year old in Oxford, NC the night Dickie Marrow is murdered in the street. The murder leads to riots, protest marches, and a boycott. The three people responsible for the murder are acquitted. Years later, Tyson decides to go back to Oxford to write about the murder of Dickie Marrow and its aftermath. He traces his own family’s history and how it coincided with the history of the South. He also discusses how things have and haven’t changed in North Carolina since the events of 1970.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 04, 2014

Highly recommended memoir of racial segregation and social change in North Carolina during the civil rights movement and "Black Power" movement of the early 1970s. Tyson educates while he keeps the reader enthralled with this tale of murder, injustice, and eventually redemption in the hope of a new generation.

k
kaybea
Jan 18, 2013

It's not my style of writing, therefore only one star. However, you may like it.

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