This morning the NPR show Morning Edition aired a show about the 1970 racially motivated murder in Oxford, NC documented in Tim Tyson’s book, Blood Done Sign My Name. The show didn’t run in NC’s largest and broadest NPR market, our own WUNC. Instead, WUNC took a fundraising break during the one segment that most directly reported on the history and life of North Carolina and in particular the listeners in Oxford.
WUNC does need to raise money, but missing this story is unexcusable.
What makes the story so powerful is that Juan Williams and Tim Tyson recorded large parts of the story while standing in the exact same physical locations where the events took place in 1970: The driveway where young Tim stood tossing a basketball when he heard of the murder from a playmate. The store where the confrontation began. The exact scene of the murder. The grave of Henry “Dickie” Marrow the victim.
I have a particular, if loose, connection to this story as I mentioned earlier on this blog.
This is the the book that Jonathan Yardley writing in the Washington Post called “A candid account of an ugly episode in the last days of Jim Crow North Carolina.”
Read it soon and listen to the show at the link above.
UPDATE: WUNC did air the story this morning at 7:45. I understand they got a few phone calls and some email which brought the omission to their attention. In announcing the segment, Keith Weston (Hi, Keith) said that a segment on “Blood Done Sign My Name” had been aired also on the locally produced State of Things show. I thought I may have heard that some months back but I can’t find it in the Archives. Going through the Archives did bring back memories of some very good shows though.
UPDATE: State of Things producer (and excellent poet) Susan Davis says that SOT did a full hour about the Oxford murder on May 24, 2004. The Archive doesn’t go back that far tho. Susan says she’ll send me a CD of the show. I will try to write a bit about it once I get it.