The Real Paul Jones

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UNC Summer Reading – Blood Done Sign My Name

The Summer Reading Committee has just reported in. The choice for incoming students and the UNC community for the Summer of 2005 is Tim Tyson‘s Blood Done Sign My Name.

I’ve written a lot about Tim and the book and about the NPR and UNC State of Things shows on the topic.

The UNC announcement reads:

The 2005 Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee has chosen “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy B. Tyson for this year’s reading program for our incoming undergraduate students in August.

On behalf of our committee of students, faculty and staff, I write to thank the University community for your help in this selection process. We received suggestions from more than 224 people about books, types of books or general topics that covered a diverse group of topics, authors and viewpoints. That input resulted from a campus-wide email, online postings to the reading program Web page ( and recommendations from alumni, members of the general public, and others sent to the chancellor’s office. We considered those suggestions and developed others through our deliberations.

Our committee concluded that “Blood Done Sign My Name” was an especially appropriate selection for a program that asks our new students to focus on discussion and dialogue about a compelling topic. We believe that the questions and issues raised by this book will provide many excellent opportunities for our new students to have thoughtful conversations in their discussion groups.

Published in 2004, “Blood Done Sign My Name” was written by Tyson, a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who grew up in eastern North Carolina as the son of a Methodist minister.The author, who earned his Ph.D. at Duke University, traces his own experiences, including living in Oxford, N.C., as a white 10-year-old in 1970. That is when the murder of Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black veteran, ignited an explosive chapter in the history of racial conflict in North Carolina.

Our committee members felt that Tyson’s story was engaging and fearlessly shared his own emotions and insights about how a white person was touched by the racial tension that permeated the Jim Crow South. In recommending the book, we hope that Tyson’s candor will inspire readers to confront the fears and emotions that often attend discussions of race and to engage in a secure and energizing dialogue informed by historical clarity.

The committee’s second and third choices, respectively, were “Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer,” by Tracy Kidder, and “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel.

Our committee has worked extremely hard since last fall to represent the Carolina community. We are grateful for the support on campus for the book selection process and for this program. Additional information about this year’s program will continue to be updated at

Holden Thorp, Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee

The official UNC Press Release
just came out as well.

1 Comment

  1. Personally, I can’t wait for the annual lawsuit about how this violates some backwards red-stater’s right not to think. So far, we’ve had the University forcing religion and, I believe, bolshivism on the unsuspecting masses. God forbid someone come to a place of higher learning and be forced to expand their world view.

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