For example, the night of the murder, furious blacks firebomb buildings and stores in retaliation. Tyson's descriptions within the latter scenes remind me of the (much later) aftermath of the Rodney King verdicts. As Tyson states, three hundred or so angry young blacks taking to the streets."..scared the hell out of most of the white people in Oxford, and some of the black ones, too" (Blood Done Sign my Name, 2005, p. 6)." Later, after Gerald Teel's father and brothers are found not guilty of Marrow's murder, other violence black mobs unleash on the town is much worse.
In fact, according to Tyson, Oxford was sharply critical of the Teels but not enough so to bring them properly to justice. Tyson, toda6y a professor of African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is haunted by his childhood experiences of living through Marrow's murder by the Teels and its aftermath. His recollections, while told elegantly, eloquently, nevertheless represent a catharsis for the author himself, i.e., a final, long-pent-up account of all that happened so long ago, how, and then, from the writer's present adult perspective, why and what it all meant. Accounts of the Civil Rights movement of the time paint a rosier picture of what the South was like, thus the surprise one feels at reading this other, truer version of what racial relations were like in places there like small Oxford, North Carolina: even as the Civil Rights movement swirled around it.
A found this a very well written book, fascinating, and a page-turner with a surprising amount of built-in suspense even with this story's sad and disturbing told to us right from the start. This book is a good counterpoint to much of what is also published about how much better life was in the South for blacks during this time than before: it shows a different, starker, side of that story.
Chait, R.P. (2005). The Questions of Tenure. Harvard University Press.
Dilts, D.A.; Samavati, H. & Rahnama-Moghadam, M. (2007). Economic Motivation for Post-Tenure Review in Academic Institutions. Journal of Collective Negotiations, 31(4), 333-341.