“The Heavens Might Crack: the death & legacy of Martin Luther King”

Jason Sokol will open our 2019 Winter Series speaking as a historian about the legacy of race and racism in the post-King era.

His newest book, “The Heavens Might Crack: the death and legacy of Martin Luther King,” is one of the 6 books to read upon the 50 year anniversary of King’s assassination by Time magazine and is one of the 39 books the Washington Post picked as most talked about in the summer of 2018 and one of the 50 best books of 2018 chosen by Pop Matters.

The Friends of the South Berwick Public Library are sponsoring this event and cookies (baked and donated by Jane Adams) will be served.

 

Jason Sokol is an American historian. He grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball. Jason attended Oberlin College, then received his Ph.D. in History from UC-Berkeley. He is the recipient of fellowships from Harvard, Penn, and Cornell. Jason was recently awarded a Public Scholar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jason is currently Arthur K. Whitcomb Associate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.

“In The Heavens Might Crack, Jason Sokol explores the differing reactions to what happened in Memphis on April 4, 1968….Significantly, Sokol writes, ‘white contempt for King knew no geographical bounds.’ To an extent that might shock many today, large numbers of whites across the country were happy about what had happened.”
Annette Gordon-ReedNew York Review of Books

“This striking and complex new work looks not so much at King himself as it does at the impact of his death and how it opened a wound in the country that has yet to heal.” -Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe

“Using a wide range of sources, from college newspapers to oral histories, Sokol dramatically demonstrates that even as King was canonized, factions split and fought over his legacy to advance their own visions and agendas.” –National Book Review “Hot Book”

Sokol on NBC Boston talks about “The Heavens Might Crack: the death and legacy of Martin Luther King,”

A  “revealing new book…Sokol mines oral histories, books and contemporaneous news stories to pull together an account that reminds us that King was a radical who ignited passions both good and bad…The real punch in Sokol’s book comes as it drives home the depth of the animus stirred by King and how it lingered in the months and years after his assassination. Sokol argues that King achieved universal hero status only after his legacy was scrubbed, stretched and softened to the point that it became elastic enough to support both sides of many divisive issues.”
Michael FletcherWashington Post

“In The Heavens Might Crack, Jason Sokol explores the differing reactions to what happened in Memphis on April 4, 1968….Significantly, Sokol writes, ‘white contempt for King knew no geographical bounds.’ To an extent that might shock many today, large numbers of whites across the country were happy about what had happened.”
Annette Gordon-ReedNew York Review of Books

“Using a wide range of sources, from college newspapers to oral histories, Sokol dramatically demonstrates that even as King was canonized, factions split and fought over his legacy to advance their own visions and agendas.” –National Book Review “Hot Book”

“This striking and complex new work looks not so much at King himself as it does at the impact of his death and how it opened a wound in the country that has yet to heal.” -Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe