BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME: A True Story

Timothy B. Tyson, Author . Crown $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-609-61058-9

In this outstanding personal history, Tyson, a professor of African-American studies who's white, unflinchingly examines the civil rights struggle in the South. The book focuses on the murder of a young black man, Henry Marrow, in 1970, a tragedy that dramatically widened the racial gap in the author's hometown of Oxford, N.C. Tyson portrays the killing and its aftermath from multiple perspectives, including that of his contemporary, 10-year-old self; his progressive Methodist pastor father, who strove to lead his parishioners to overcome their prejudices; members of the disempowered black community; one of the killers; and his older self, who comes to Oxford with a historian's eye. He also artfully interweaves the history of race relations in the South, carefully and convincingly rejecting less complex and self-serving versions ("violence and nonviolence were both more ethically complicated—and more tightly intertwined—than they appeared in most media accounts and history books"). A gifted writer, he celebrates a number of inspirational unsung heroes, ranging from his father to a respected elderly schoolteacher who spoke out at a crucial point to quash a white congregation's rebellion over an invitation to a black minister. 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. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy at Sterling Lord Literistic. 8-city author tour. (May 18)

FYI: Tyson's last book, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (1999), won the James Rawley Prize and was co-winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize.

Reviewed on: 04/19/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-1-4000-8311-4
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5397-6
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-307-41993-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-1177-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0107-6
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