On September 20, 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously injured after a woman stabbed him with a letter opener during a book signing in Harlem.
King was in a store signing copies of his newly released book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” when a 42-year-old, mentally disturbed woman lunged at him with the letter opener, lodging its tip deep in King’s chest.
After the incident, King was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he underwent nearly 2.5 hours of surgery. The operating doctors told King that if he had sneezed, the blade would have fatally punctured an organ.
When asked whether he was angry about the attack, King reportedly said, “I think she needs help. I’m not angry at her.”