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

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Updated: Sep 9th, 2021


This analytical essay presents a review of the book namely “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy B. Tyson, focusing on the facets of racial prejudice presented in the book. The bibliography appends one source in MLA format.


The book under consideration is named “Blood Done Sign My Name”, which has been written by Timothy B. Tyson”. The basis of the book is that racism still exists in the United States of America even though many believe that racism is rare now a day. In this exceptional personal history, Tyson, who teaches African-American studies and is white, courageously scrutinizes the civil rights effort in the South. The book’s center of attention is the assassination of a young black man, Henry Marrow, in 1970, a catastrophe that spectacularly widened the racial fissure in the author’s hometown of Oxford, N.C. Tyson depicts the killing and its consequences from numerous perspectives, together with that of his present-day, 10-year-old self; his progressive Methodist pastor father, who made every effort to show the way to his parishioners to triumph over their narrow-mindedness; members of the disempowered black community; one of the killers; and his older self, who comes to Oxford with the eye of a historian.


At the mere age of ten, the author of the book Tim Tyson heard one of his childhood friends in Oxford, N.C. elatedly come out with the words that were to have an impact that would affect him for the rest of his life: “Daddy and Roger and ’em shot ’em a nigger!”. The hardhearted street murder of young Henry Marrow by a go-getting, quick-tempered local businessman and his family in the spring of 1970 would rapidly fan the long-flickering flames of cultural disagreement in the swollen with pride, inward-looking tobacco town into angry outbursts of rage and street violence. This was something that was would also turn the white Tyson down a long, distressed understanding with his Southern roots that sooner or later led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and this overpoweringly heartrending, if severely disconcerting personal meditation on the true costs of America’s chronological ethnic divide.

The title of the book has been taken from a traditional African-American devout, Tyson competently intertwines perceptive memoirs (the father of the author was the town’s anti-segregationist Methodist minister, as well as being a man whose sense of right and wrong and human graciousness greatly informs the son) with a scrupulously nuanced historical investigation that emphasizes how little changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 by all accounts ended racial segregation.

The book provides many details which at times can be found by the reader to be chilling: Oxford purely closed its public recreation conveniences rather than incorporate them; Marrow’s indicted murderers were overtly condemned, nevertheless set free; the very town’s newspaper records of the events – and without a doubt the author’s later description for his graduate thesis–mysteriously detached from local public records. But Tyson’s own passionate personal history lessons here will not be deprived of; painful as they are, yet indispensable reminders of an ill-intentioned American ethnic bequest that has so often been unceremoniously rewritten – and too effortlessly carried forward into yet another century by politicians enthusiastically employing the cynical, so-called “Southern Strategy”.

In the book under consideration, namely Blood Done Sign My Name, a young Vietnam expert is killed in his home locality, as abruptly as a summer storm, in an occurrence that aggravated a blaze of aggression and detestation that has yet to be compressed back into the southern soil from which it pounced.

Dickie Marrow lay powerless on the ground importunate for his life while three men beat him senselessly with fists, feet, and the butt of a rifle. After which someone said, “Shoot the son of a bitch!” and one man fired up a shot into Dickie’s brain. This is an event that had several witnesses. Not any of the perpetrators were queried by the police until at least forty-eight hours after the happening, and people who willingly and at some jeopardy to themselves came forward to offer to give testimony to the police without delay afterward had to wait until they lastly left the station. The fact remains that Dickie Marrow was black and his attackers were white. What makes it more interesting and intensifying that racial discrimination is still persistent in the United States is that the incident took place in the year 1970, nearly ten years after civil rights were thought to be a done deal in Oxford, North Carolina.

Blood Done Sign My Name is basic coverage for accepting the currents and the undercurrents of the Civil Rights movement: the impracticable hopes of the meager left, the self-destructive antagonism of the young, and the consequences transform for the improved, changes for the inferior, and no factual sense of finality on either side. Tyson makes as valiant an attempt as anyone could find redemptive truth through an intellectual classification of the multifaceted and upsetting facts of the case. In doing so, all of us are condemned, and we are all vindicated. In his rationalization for being focused so much of his innovative life on the assessment of the murder of Dickie Marrow, Tyson states, “We are runaway slaves from our own past, and only by turning to face the hounds can we find our freedom beyond them”.

Like several other small Southern towns, Oxford had scarcely been touched by the civil rights movement. But in the rouse of the assassination, young African Americans took to the streets. While lawyers skirmished in the courthouse, the Klan raged in the shadows, and black Vietnam veterans set on fire the town’s tobacco warehouses. Tyson’s father, the member of the clergy of Oxford’s all-white Methodist church, advised the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, on the other hand, the Tyson family was enforced to move away. Through this book, the author puts forward a narrative of the story and its effects on him with a discussion of the racial history of the United States, focusing on the persistence of discrimination despite federal law and on the violent practicalities of that history on both sides of the blacks as well as the whites. Through the book, the author has challenged the famous memory of the movement as a nonviolent call on America’s conscience

Tim Tyson’s fascinating narrative of that sweltering summer brings granular blues truth, elevated gospel apparition, and down-home hilarity to a scandalous episode of our history. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic representation of a memorable time and place


In the light of the above discussion, we can hereby culminate that in the book namely Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story by Timothy B. Tyson, the author has presented the fact that racial discrimination still exists in the United States of America. It begins by presenting to us the horrible scene of a murder and then delves into reminding us that this incident happened at a time when civil rights were authorized, which shows that racial discrimination exists in America.

Works Cited

Tyson, Timothy. D Done Sign My Name: A True Story. Crown. United States of America. ISBN-10: 0609610589.

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