Civil rights expert to speak at WFU

By Maggie Barrett
March 10, 2005

Tim Tyson, expert on the black freedom movements in the South during the 20th century and author of "Blood Done Sign My Name," will speak at 7:30 p.m. March 15 in Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University.

Tim Tyson

Tim Tyson

A book signing in the College Bookstore will follow Tyson's lecture. Both the lecture and the book signing are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by Wake Forest's Campus Ministry, the Pro Humanitate Center, the Divinity School and the sociology department.

Tyson, associate professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, will deliver the address "Miss Amy's Witness: Why Our History of the Civil Rights Movement is (Almost) All Wrong!" The title of the address comes from a story included in "Blood Done Sign My Name."

Described as "part memoir, part history, part detective story" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss, the book recounts a racial murder committed in 1970 in Tyson's hometown of Oxford, N.C., by the father of one of Tyson's childhood friends. The murder set off an uprising of Oxford's black community and profoundly affected Tyson's white anti-segregationist family. Tyson and his family were regarded as traitors and forced to leave Oxford after his father, the minister at an all-white Methodist church, pressed his congregation to reach across the racial divide.

"Blood Done Sign My Name" is a finalist for the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and was selected by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its 2005 Summer Reading Program. The book also won a 2005 Christopher Award.

Tyson earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and religious studies from Emory University. He earned a Master of Arts and a doctorate in history from Duke University. He is the John Hope Franklin Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park.

For information, call the University Chaplain's Office: 336-758-5210.

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