When Harlem Nearly Killed King: The 1958 Stabbing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When Harlem Nearly Killed King: The 1958 Stabbing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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by Hugh Pearson
     
 

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When harlem nearly killed king tells of how, in 1958. Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by an emotionally disturbed black woman in Harlem and then saved at Harlem Hospital, where the head of surgery was an acclaimed African American. In Pearson's hands the life-threatening episode becomes, in a sense, a mortal danger to the very soul of a nation just beginning to…  See more details below

Overview

When harlem nearly killed king tells of how, in 1958. Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by an emotionally disturbed black woman in Harlem and then saved at Harlem Hospital, where the head of surgery was an acclaimed African American. In Pearson's hands the life-threatening episode becomes, in a sense, a mortal danger to the very soul of a nation just beginning to struggle in earnest with the knowledge that many of the ideas of racial equality were still only that -- ideas, symbols, not facts of life. Here Pearson skillfully recreates America at the dawn of the civil rights movement and shows us how change really occurs: painfully, not in one grand gesture, but in a thousand small and contradictory ways.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
On Saturday, September 20, 1958, at a book promotion and rally in New York City's Harlem, a ranting and apparently disoriented 42-year-old black woman named Izola Curry plunged the six- to eight-inch blade of a Japanese penknife into the chest of a rising leader of the Civil Rights Movement the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Veteran journalist Pearson ably situates the stabbing amid the web of personalities vying for competitive, and particularly political, advantage at every turn inside and outside the movement. He examines the stabbing in light of New York's 1958 gubernatorial race between the eventual winner, Republican Nelson A. Rockefeller, and Democratic stalwart W. Averell Harriman. Pearson also uses the stabbing to explain the movement's tenuous fortunes as it confronted challenges like the claim that the stabbing was a Communist-inspired plot. This fact-filled foray into a harrowing day in King's life and the political environment of Harlem and of the movement makes for interesting reading. For collections on the Civil Rights Movement, King, or local history. Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Martin Luther King's life was nearly ended in 1958 while he was on a book tour promoting his book about the Montgomery bus boycott. Journalist and author Pearson examines the events surrounding the stabbing, relating such questions as the anti-communism of the attacker, the decision to send King to Harlem hospital (rather than better municipal hospitals), and the two-faced public support for King from New York's Governor Harriman and his political rival Nelson Rockefeller to larger questions of the civil rights movement and Cold War America. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583222744
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
02/28/2002
Pages:
138
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

Descended from generations of African-American surgeons—including his great-uncle, who was the first Negro surgeon in south Georgia and who built the largest private hospital for blacks in the state—HUGH PEARSON’s distinctive voice weaves autobiography and investigative journalism to offer a unique window of understanding into the nature of the American experience. He was the author of Under the Knife: How a Wealthy Negro Surgeon Wielded Power in the Jim Crow South (2000), which The New York Times called "a moving passionate story," of "a poignancy transcending issues of race." His previous book was The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America, a New York Times Notable Book of 1994. Pearson was also a former columnist for the Village Voice. He died in 2005.

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When Harlem Nearly Killed King: The 1958 Stabbing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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