PEMBROKE — Acclaimed N.C. actor and playwright Mike Wiley will perform his one-person show “Blood Done Sign My Name” on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center at The University of North Carolina Pembroke.
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $1 for students and educators.
Based on the novel by N.C. author Timothy B. Tyson of the same name, “Blood Done Sign My Name” brings to life recollections of Tyson’s book surrounding the 1970 murder of Henry “Dickie” Marrow in Oxford, N.C. and the events that followed.
“Before the pandemic, Mike gave our GPAC audience an incredible performance of The Emmett Till story,” said James Bass, director of GPAC. “And unfortunately, we had to cancel and reschedule this amazing performance of ‘Blood Done Sign My Name’ a few times. We’re so happy to be able to make this show possible.”
Marrow, who was black, was chased from a local store by three white men after reportedly making a crude remark to one of the men’s wives. They brutally beat Marrow and then killed him in front of multiple witnesses. Despite the eyewitness reports, an all-white jury acquitted the men. The town’s black community responded to the events with an uprising that destroyed downtown businesses and several tobacco warehouses.
Tyson, who was 10 at the time, recounts how the conflagration of events shaped his life and offers us an opportunity to examine our roles in America’s complex and often confusing racial fabric.
Gospel scholar and singer Mary D. Williams reinforces the action on stage with powerful and moving renditions of spirituals such as “Oh, Freedom,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “Soon I Will Be Done.”
Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown, and more.
“History tells us that when society is hurt or wounded, and in tumult or turmoil, the arts have rescued us,” Wiley said. “The arts give us hope that united we are greater than the sum of our problems, greater than the sum of our differences. Art will document these dark days, yes, but art will also lead us out of them.”
For information about tickets and other upcoming events, visit uncp.edu/gpac.