Extended Audio Sample

Download Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story Audiobook, by Timothy B. Tyson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,210 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Timothy B. Tyson Narrator: Timothy B. Tyson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2004 ISBN: 9780739311783
Regular Price: $13.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

“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 of To Kill a MockingbirdBlood Done Sign My Name is 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_000428

Quotes & Awards

  • Admirable and unexpected...a riveting story that will have his readers weeping with both laughter and sorrow. Chicago Tribune
  • Blood Done Sign My Name is a most important book and one of the most powerful meditations on race in America that I have ever read. Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Pulses with vital paradox . . . It’s a detached dissertation, a damning dark-night-of-the-white-soul, and a ripping yarn, all united by Tyson’s powerful voice, a brainy, booming Bubba profundo. Entertainment Weekly
  • If you want to read only one book to understand the uniquely American struggle for racial equality and the swirls of emotion around it, this is it. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Engaging and frequently stunning. San Diego Union-Tribune
  • “Tyson has written an honest book, far more so than most explorations of race in America. He understands that the true past—to the extent we can ever know the ‘truth’ about the past—was vastly more complicated and bloody than the gussied-up past in which we so desperately want to believe, and that until we understand this, we will be incapable of redeeming ourselves and our country.”

    Washington Post

  • “Pulses with vital paradox…It’s a detached dissertation, a damning dark-night-of-the-white-soul, and a ripping yarn, all united by Tyson’s powerful voice, a brainy, booming Bubba profundo.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Admirable and unexpected…A riveting story that will have his readers weeping with both laughter and sorrow.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • Blood Done Sign My Name is a most important book and one of the most powerful meditations on race in America that I have ever read.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “If you want to read only one book to understand the uniquely American struggle for racial equality and the swirls of emotion around it, this is it.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • A 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Denise | 2/17/2014

    " Omg I found this book so hard to read and eventually gave up. It had fab reviews and I was really looking forward to it, but it wasn't written in a way I found easy to read; there appeared to be no sense of order to it and despite giving it a few months it got the better of me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 2/13/2014

    " Very personal, and universal, insights into race relations in America. I have understood much of what the author says, but he has helped crystalize my thoughts. If everyone read this, it would be a much better nation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 2/6/2014

    " One of the best and most personally reflective books on the Civil Rights Movement you'll read. Centering on a little-known 1970 North Carolina murder, it really traces centuries of racial unrest and is that rare type of historical narrative that leaves you questioning your social decisions and thoughts. Great book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bmeyer | 2/4/2014

    " If there were ten stars, I'd give them...one of the best books I have read about anything, pretty much. Beautifully written and will rewire your understanding of race in the American South and adds needed perspective (especially for white people) about the modern Civil Rights movement. You won't want to put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 1/21/2014

    " A powerful, disturbing, sobering read. Recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin R | 1/17/2014

    " Social Action - A true story of growing up in the Deep South during the 60s and 70s and the civil rights movement. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Shrubb | 1/11/2014

    " It's excellent, alarming and moving. It's a good reminder that the problems around race in the US do not go away. I recommend this one highly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellen Mann | 1/9/2014

    " Written by a family friend's son, they are making a movie out of this true story which occurred in North Carolina. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lizzie Rogers | 1/4/2014

    " see my comments on Debby's books "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenene | 1/1/2014

    " I thought the book would cover more about Henry Marrow but instead covered more of the author's family history. Overall, an excellent read on the state of race relations today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susannah | 12/6/2013

    " Not an easy book to read. A very difficult subject makes for slow and difficult reading. I think it is worth the effort. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Visha Burkart | 11/11/2013

    " Blood... written by a historian with a memoirist's style. A story straight from the heart of Carolina and includes chapters on Wilmington. At times, Tyson hops on the soapbox, but it's easy to forgive him by the end. Fascinating and eye-opening text. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 9/24/2013

    " Profound insight into the cruelty of racism and its effects in past and present day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 8/9/2013

    " This book is heart-breaking, particularly to those of us who grew up in the small-town south with all the ghosts people are afraid to speak of. It's beautifully written and honest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Genya | 2/3/2013

    " This is a great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 1/16/2013

    " Interesting account of how Civil Rights Legislation was received in the South, but the author never decides if this is truly a personal narrative / memoir or an objective historical account, which makes it frustrating for the reader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rishara | 11/28/2012

    " Very good mix of personal memoir and history of southern civil-rights era race relations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bliss Alexander-Smith | 12/6/2011

    " It's important to be reminded of the incredibly flawed history we all come from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarita | 12/3/2011

    " Great non-fiction about how Durham, NC "race relations" were in their own time of civil rights movement. Gut wrenching. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will Swann | 11/19/2011

    " I read this when it first came out. We were living in Henderson, NC, at the time (about 9 miles from the story) and I finally began to recognize the cultural differences of the area. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 6/13/2011

    " Extremely well-written memoir/nonfiction book about a horrible racially motivated killing in N. Carolina, the history of the Black Freedom movement, and the way it has affected the author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sorien Schmidt | 4/21/2011

    " Important to understand our own history! Tyson has a nice personal voice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 4/13/2011

    " An amazing story of a post civil rights movement racial tension, injustice and the author's view of it all. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 4/5/2011

    " Interesting history of race struggles in North Carolina. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 3/14/2011

    " Great story! I can't imagine what it must have been like to be lying under a car and witness what the main character did! I remember those times, thankfully we have made progress...Still have a way to go! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke | 1/17/2011

    " Really well written and good insights into the Civil Rights movement in NC. It makes the book more interesting that it was written by a white man as he struggled to understand the events happening in the late 1960's/early 1970's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 12/28/2010

    " Would actually give this a 3.5 -- it was well researched, and I learned a lot about race relations in eastern NC in the 1960s and 70s, but I found the author to be just a tad self-indulgent at times -- he also could have benefited from a more ruthless editor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jasmine | 12/24/2010

    " Amazing, heartbreaking, thought provoking, insightful. This is how history should be written. Felt like sitting in on his class. I recommend this to anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 11/6/2010

    " A must-read that will challenge everything you've thought about a terrible time in our history that is still pervasive today. Portions are very tough to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenene | 10/25/2010

    " I thought the book would cover more about Henry Marrow but instead covered more of the author's family history. Overall, an excellent read on the state of race relations today. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Timothy B. Tyson

Timothy B. Tyson is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School, and adjunct professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of Blood Done Sign My Name, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power, winner of the James Rawley Prize for best book on race, and the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in US History from the Organization of American Historians. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.