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Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B. Tyson
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Blood Done Sign My Name

by Timothy B. Tyson

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Really good memoir. I'll add more later, but in the meantime, here's a interesting piece of information:

In 1662, the Virginia legislature passed a law that read, "Children got by an Englishman upon a Negro woman shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother." Seems otherwise innocuous, but this statute reversed English common law under which the status of the child frollowed that of the father.

The implications were huge. It meant that slave owners could impregnate as many slave women as they wanted secure in the knowledge that the children that resulted would become their property, increasing their wealth and slave population. This provided a huge incentive for white men to sleep with their slave women.

This intertwined sex and race and led to the powerful taboo of black men marrying or even looking at a white woman. The long-term result of this taboo was the epidemic of the lynching of black men.
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  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
This book doesn't hide the truth about what happened after integration in North Carolina and around the south, it shares the actual truth with the world, something that desperately needs doing in a time when people have forgotten just how long it takes to make changes to the background of hate. I got this book because it is local history for me, I couldn't put it down because it was so captivating and honest. I found the historical slavery connection to the more recent racism a fascinating insight to exactly why it was that so many people I have known in my life had been unable to let go of their various prejudices in the past. It has made me a little more forgiving of their situation, if not their reasoning and has helped me to see so much of history in a totally different light. Connecting the past to the future isn't new, but hearing it here made it seem remarkable.

The author's writing style is captivating and has found a way to bring such deep emotion into history that it would seem a miracle itself. So often we read about what was and nod our heads, file the information away as sad and move on, but rarely do we find ourselves experiencing the anguish that happened in another time right where we were sitting, reading about it. Even the most logical notion hits home in the heart when reading Tyson's account of what went on around him when he was young and how it created what he is today. People of every color are tied together in this earth and in this story, which is equally about freedom and the unjust death of a local man as it is about the author's life and family history.

I simply can't say enough about this book or how it is written. If I were able, I would pass out copies to everyone I know. ( )
  mirrani | Jul 4, 2013 |
Powerful, memorable, I recommend this to anyone with an interest in race and US history.
  ptzop | Nov 28, 2008 |
Powerful, memorable, I recommend this to anyone with an interest in race and US history.
  ptzop | Nov 27, 2008 |
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"Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A very good book but a difficult read. Similar to the Tulsa race riot, mysteriously removed from local public records.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0609610589, Hardcover)

When he was but 10 years old, Tim Tyson heard one of his boyhood friends in Oxford, N.C. excitedly blurt the words that were to forever change his life: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger!" The cold-blooded street murder of young Henry Marrow by an ambitious, hot-tempered local businessman and his kin in the Spring of 1970 would quickly fan the long-flickering flames of racial discord in the proud, insular tobacco town into explosions of rage and street violence. It would also turn the white Tyson down a long, troubled reconciliation with his Southern roots that eventually led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--and this profoundly moving, if deeply troubling personal meditation on the true costs of America's historical racial divide. Taking its title from a traditional African-American spiritual, Tyson skillfully interweaves insightful autobiography (his father was the town's anti-segregationist Methodist minister, and a man whose conscience and human decency greatly informs the son) with a painstakingly nuanced historical analysis that underscores how little really changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 supposedly ended racial segregation. The details are often chilling: Oxford simply closed its public recreation facilities rather than integrate them; Marrow's accused murderers were publicly condemned, yet acquitted; the very town's newspaper records of the events--and indeed the author's later account for his graduate thesis--mysteriously removed from local public records. But Tyson's own impassioned personal history lessons here won't be denied; they're painful, yet necessary reminders of a poisonous American racial legacy that's so often been casually rewritten--and too easily carried forward into yet another century by politicians eagerly employing the cynical, so-called "Southern Strategy." --Jerry McCulley

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

From the Publisher: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger." Those words, whispered to ten-year-old Tim Tyson by a playmate, heralded a firestorm that would forever transform the tobacco market town of Oxford, North Carolina. On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a twenty-three-year-old black veteran, walked into a crossroads store owned by Robert Teel and came out running. Teel and two of his sons chased and beat Marrow, then killed him in public as he pleaded for his life. 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. While lawyers battled in the courthouse, the Klan raged in the shadows and black Vietnam veterans torched the town's tobacco warehouses. Tyson's father, the pastor of Oxford's all-white Methodist church, urged the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family was forced to move away. Tim Tyson's riveting narrative of that fiery summer brings gritty blues truth, soaring gospel vision, and down-home humor to a shocking episode of our history. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic portrait of an unforgettable time and place.… (more)

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