Duke researcher has no regrets about protest, arrest

Posted June 16, 2010
Updated July 6, 2010

— Duke University research scholar Tim Tyson said Wednesday his arrest during a Wake County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night was for the greater good.

Tyson was one of four people charged with second-degree trespassing after they interrupted the board's meeting, locked arms and sang songs.

Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, Nancy Petty, a pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh and Mary Dobbin Williams, a Wake County parent staged what Barber called a "non-violent conscientious objection," disrupting the meeting for about an hour to draw attention to a move by the board they believe will serve to re-segregate Wake County schools.

Timothy Buie Tyson Duke researcher has no regrets about protest

Tyson said his father, a Methodist preacher, taught him about standing up for his beliefs in the face of adversity. Those lessons remain deeply rooted in his beliefs.

“If the anti-diversity coalition of the school board thinks I’m a pain in the neck wait ‘till they meet my mama who taught fourth grade for 40 years and knows what to do with people who don’t do their homework,” Tyson said.

Tyson is the author of a book about racial tension in his childhood home of Oxford which later became the film “Blood Done Sign My Name.”

The book details the 1970 murder of 23-year-old black Vietnam War veteran Henry Murrow. When a jury acquitted a prominent white businessman and his grown sons of Murrow's death, violence followed.

To direct that anger peacefully, a young teacher, Ben Chavis, organized thousands along a three-day, 50-mile protest march to the state Capitol in Raleigh. Tyson's father worked to get his congregation to accept integration.

Tyson said that although his father's role is pivotal to the story, his dad was one person among many trying to do what was right.

Despite his arrest Tuesday night, Tyson said he would do it again and again until the school board and the public come to grips with what he is convinced is at risk, a re-segregation of Wake County public schools.

“We did what we did last night to protect the public schools, acting in the spirit of love and we are responsible to that,” he said.


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  • bht579 Jun 18, 2010

    If the good reverund really cared about kids, he would realize that its a proven fact that PARENTS participate more in the childs education when the school is nearby and not across town. And PARENTAL involvement is key to learning success. Add to that , the extra time each child wastes busing back and forth (which could be spent studying or sleeping), the costs of Busing( which could be spent better on schools), and the environmental impact of polluting buses running back and forth, and its a no-brainer. Neighborhood Schools...FOR THE CHILDREN !!!!

  • blackdog06 Jun 17, 2010

    Just another fool who happens to be employed by Duke. I would only hope the university has some type of morals clause where he could be fired for his behavior. Or is disturbing the peace okay as opposed to just coaching a group lacrossse players

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 17, 2010

    Timothy Leary here needs to check into Dix, if it's not too late to get him a room. What a nut.

  • rforsythe Jun 17, 2010

    I noticed in the story that only one of the protesters was a parent. Why do outsiders think they have a dog in this fight. If the shoe was on the other foot they wouldn't feel the same about outside agitators. They should work the same way the majority did, at the polls.

  • com_mon_sents Jun 17, 2010

    Just as soon as I read about the connection that Tyson had with the Gang of 88 lynch mob at Duke...I knew this was't good. I already knew of Barbers connection and opinion of it. This is a sick mixture. I just want to ask that minister, what does she think is going to come of this. I don't even know her, but I already have lowered any expectations of anything that comes out of her mouth.

  • chichi Jun 17, 2010

    BubbaDuke & Golfdiva, spot own about your comments on Tyson. Tyson is no researcher, he's an instigator and evil. Has anyone ever wondered why David Crabtree (one of Tyson's friends)or anyone else from Wral have not bothered to contact the owner of the website exposing Tim Tyson for his lies in his book? They don't want to expose the truth.

  • Jun 17, 2010

    And we must remember that he wants people to buy more copies of his book...everybody wants some publicity!

  • ginaosbo Jun 17, 2010

    "And the letter was only signed by faculty-Barber's name was not on the letter." ejhm

    Sorry ejhm, I did not mean to imply that Barber had signed the Duke letter, I suppose I could have more clear.

    Barber participated with the "pot bangers" mob, who tried to use intimidation on the Lacrosse players.

  • Jun 17, 2010

    "I think he has way to much time on his hands and is one fry short of a happy meal!"

    lol...I think the woman pastor must have a lot of free time at Pullen or maybe attendance is down and they needed some air time.

  • olsaltydog Jun 17, 2010

    If they really believe what they say, then go down and protest at all the city councils in Wake County so that they force communities to diversify then there is no need to bus students.