Longreads

Wendy L. Rouse | Her Own Hero | NYU Press | August 2017 | 16 minutes (3,900 words)

On a spring evening in 1909, Wilma Berger decided to go for a short walk after work. Twenty-year-old Berger, an American-born white woman and the daughter of a prominent local doctor, was studying to be a nurse at the Henrotin Hospital in downtown Chicago. As she walked along Ontario Street and approached Lake Michigan, she suddenly felt a piercing pain from a blow to her head. In the next instant, a stranger’s arm reached around her neck and pulled her to the ground. Just as she came to her senses and prepared to stand up, a man sat on top of her, pinning her firmly down. The attacker clenched her throat with a choking grip with one hand and used his other hand to cover her mouth to prevent her from…

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