October 12, 2010
In mid-October, UNC Asheville's Center for Diversity Education will present a series of events about past and present race relations. Duke University historian and author Tim Tyson and civil rights attorney James Ferguson will lead discussions of contemporary racial issues. Actor Mike Wiley will stage one-man shows at UNC Asheville and the Diana Wortham Theatre.
* Tim Tyson and James Ferguson will host “Activists Reflect on the Civil Rights Movement Then and Now,” a brown bag discussion session, 12:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 21, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union. This event is free and open to the public. Ferguson is a noted civil rights attorney and was a founding member of Asheville’s ASCORE (Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality) which led lunch counter sit-ins and other actions that helped end segregation. Tyson was recently arrested and barred from Wake County Schools’ property after an act of civil disobedience protesting the new Wake County School Board’s decision to eliminate diversity as a key factor in assigning students to schools.
Tyson and Ferguson both played a role in the events surrounding the beating and murder of a black Army veteran in Oxford, N.C. in 1970 by a group of white men in full view of witnesses. The three men charged in the case were later acquitted by an all-white jury. Ferguson was one of the prosecutors in the case. Tyson, who was 10 at the time of the murder, observed as his father, a white Oxford minister, sought unsuccessfully to organize a bi-racial memorial service for the murdered man. Tyson later wrote a memoir that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, “Blood Done Sign My Name,” about the murder and its aftermath.
* Mike Wiley will present a stage version of “Blood Done Sign My Name,” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. Tickets are $30, or $10 for UNC Asheville students, and are available at dwtheatre.com or by calling 828.257.4530. This performance is presented in partnership with the Center for Diversity Education, UNC Asheville Department of Education, the UNC Asheville Teacher Recruitment Office, and Western North Carolina Network for Access and Success. Tyson and Ferguson will participate in a pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m., and Wiley will take questions from the audience after the performance.
* The movie based on the book “Blood Done Sign My Name” will be shown at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20, at UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union. The film is free and open to the public.
* Wiley will also stage "Brown Vs. Board of Education: 50 Years Later" at UNC Asheville at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at UNC Asheville's Humanities Lecture Hall. Wiley will portray a host of historical figures, including Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren and Linda Brown, in this play about the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional the "separate but equal" precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call UNC Asheville's Center for Diversity Education at 828.232.5024 or www.diversityed.org.