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When Harlem Nearly Killed King: The 1958 Stabbing of Martin Luther King, Jrby Hugh Pearson
Synopses & Reviews
When Harlem Nearly Killed King spins the tale of a little-known episode in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. how, in 1958, King was stabbed by a deranged black woman in Harlem, and then saved by HarlemHospital's most acclaimed African-American surgeon, using a little known and difficult procedure.
Pearson recreates America at the dawn of the civil rights movement, and in so doing probes and examines the livingbody politic of the nation, black and white, and shows us how change really occurs: painfully, not in one grand gesture, but in a thousand small and contradictory ways.
As the story of When Harlem Nearly KilledKing unfolds, it offers up surprising truths: how Harlem 's leading black bookseller was snubbed by King and his entourage in favor of a Jewish-owned department store; and how the acclaimed surgeon seems not tohave been the doctor responsible for the surgery. As truths and apocrypha clash in these pages, what emerges is a powerful picture of change in race perspectives in America, and how such change really occurs -reminding us today that race in America is still unfinished business.
"Deftly recreates the political reformism, high-maintenance egos, and petulant jealousies that . . . remain prevalent in this nation’s sociopolitical psyche."—Boston Globe
When Harlem Nearly Killed King spins the tale of a little-known episode in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—how, in 1958, King was stabbed by a deranged black woman in Harlem, and then saved by Harlem Hospital’s most acclaimed African-American surgeon. In Pearson’s hands, the life-threatening episode becomes, in a sense, a mortal danger to the soul of a nation struggling against wave after wave of crisis.
Hugh Pearson is a former editorial page writer at The Wall Street Journal.
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