Literary Notes: Tyson Comes to UNC Pembroke
Timothy Tyson, author of "Blood Done Sign My Name," (Crown, 2004) will be at UNC Pembroke's Sampson-Livermore Library on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.
As a guest of the Friends of the Library, Tyson will sign books after giving remarks. He will be accompanied by vocalist Mary Williams, who will sing the spiritual that is the book's namesake.
The event is free and the public is welcome.
The story, set in 1970, is about racial unrest and violence in Tyson's hometown of Oxford. "Blood Done Sign My Name" was a Book Critic's Circle Award finalist and selected as the summer reading for incoming freshmen of UNC-Chapel Hill in 2004.
A senior research scholar of documentary studies and adjunct professor at the Duke University Divinity School, Tyson's story is both personal and historical and both elements are woven into the book. He said the purpose of the book is to initiate dialogue about race and democracy.
"Blood" is not Tyson's first venture into racial dialogue. His first book, "Democracy Betrayed," is a collection of essays he wrote and co-edited concerning the 1898 race riots in Wilmington.
The story behind "Blood Done Sign My Name" was sparked by a racially motivated murder committed by the father of one of Tyson's childhood friends and the uprising that followed.
Tyson's first book, "Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power," won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians. He also wrote "Deep River: African American Freedom Movements in the 20th Century South."
Tyson also worked on two documentary films that aired on public television.
For more information, please contact the Sampson-Livermore Library at 910-521-6212.
Thirty-eight years after his assassination, Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy continues to be debated.
Was King a peaceful radical whose ideas were grounded in the dynamics of the Civil Rights movement? Or was he a convenient hero whose sometimes incendiary words have been watered down by media eager to transform him into a "plaster saint?"
In his just published 472-page book "Dilemmas and Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America's Quest for Racial and Economic Justice," Thomas Jackson, associate professor in the history department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, notes that sorting out King's legacy is no easy endeavor.
While King's words such as his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech are well chronicled, less well-remembered is his non-violent opposition to the Vietnam War and visit to India to study the teachings of Mohandas Ghandi.
Jackson recounts King's early opposition to the Vietnam War, well before President Lyndon Johnson sent troops there in 1965.
"At his most radical, King charged that the U.S. military was simply a tool of American corporate interests abroad," Jackson said. "America's and Vietnam's poor suffered terribly as a result. "
King believed that economic security was the key to peace the world over, Jackson notes.
"The lessons of Dr. King are important only if we understand how he spoke not just as an inspiring visionary or tactician of protest, but as a political leader whose defeats sometimes overshadowed his successes," Jackson said.
Jackson holds a doctorate in U.S. history from Stanford University. He was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia.
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