At one of the many discussions at UNC of Tim Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name. This is not a discussion of undergrads, but one of graduate students and faculty. Since this is not exactly a private discussion but it is not exactly a public discussion either, I’ll be broad in my remarks.
Coordinator Dr. David Carr notes that he and several other folks here have come from leading freshmen discussions today. He tells of wanting to talk alot but that he once got a chinese fortune cookie fortune that said “Today is a good time to shut up” He then acknowledged that he has yet to learn to do that. Now he tells us that the freshmen were born in 1987 parented by parents born in 1962 (if their parents were 25 when they had these freshmen). David contextualized the period by describing the Kent State killings and the Augusta and Jackson State killings — all in the same month as the killing of Henry Marrow. May 1970.
Folks mention other books: “A Lesson Before Dying” and “Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” and Tyson’s “Radio Free Dixie” Personal reflections are brought up along the way. A bit about small town concepts and how the particularlity is more touching to some than the broad national pagents. “Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society” is being read by one man. Another person talks about the portrait of the South. Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” Bebe Moore Campbell’s “Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine” High school students are very aware of class notes Carr. I mention Frank Johnson and Sally’s class. I only know a little or do I know a lot?
What is this book about? asks David. One says: Information Access. (Glad he came to the ILS ;->). Special mention of Tim’s having left the paper that had the pages torn out. Tim left it that way so that people would know that it had been damaged. Mid-westerner claims she had no clue of the culture. She was shocked at first by Silent Sam, but then thought that avoiding history is not a good thing. Back to information. Why did it take so long after Brown v Board before segregation ended? How far have we really come? “Wolf Whistle” and James Baldwin’s interview with Martin Luther King are mentioned. David was on faculty at Rutgers with the former president of NC A and T. A little talk of Viet Nam. Viet Nam included black and white soldiers and that effect in noted. In Camp Lejune, racial tension was extremely strong.
“Henry Marrow thought he was going out for a soda” not to change anything. A young black woman talks about “Color Purple” and how racism infected and infects the black community as well. How racial heirarchy infects us all even blacks.
“Founding Brothers” is mentioned by one faculty member and how the founders couldn’t deal with it and left it for us to determine.
David envies Tim as a writer. How Tim uses the work “kenneled” in the phrase how he realized when he refused to drink from a certain water fountain that “racism was kenneled within him.”
Discussion of complexity. Return to the water fountain. And other stories told.
Ending? or Going on after an hour. What would we talk about if we had another hour to meet?
Sex and race (not gender but sex) brought up. The combination that killed Emmett Till and Henry Marrow. How to personally recognize racism within oneself.
David talks about the “Color of Water” which will be read by the Durham community. David is arranging and training the reading group folks there. He’s looking for volunteers to help out.
Carrboro on September will have a community book forum which will begin with “Blood Done Sign My Name.” Tim asks for sweet potato pie to be brought.
On September later, Richard Florida’s “Creative Class.” and in November “Rescuing Patty Hearst”