From 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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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About 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.