65 Years Ago Today: Martin Luther King Jr. Survives Stabbing in Harlem During Book Signing

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New York Governor Averell Harriman, left, talks with the Rev. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta King in Harlem Hospital, New York, Sept. 22, 1958. Rev. King was stabbed in the chest on September 20 in a New York department store while autographing books. The governor said after the visit that he had made Rev. King laugh when he said that the clergyman was the only calm person in the hospital the night of the stabbing. Rev. King's condition was described as excellent. (AP Photo/Ray Howard)
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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.

Izola Ware Curry enters a New York City police station, Sept. 20, 1958, where she was questioned in the stabbing of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a department store in Harlem during a book signing. Police said the civil rights leader was stabbed by Mrs. Curry, who told them several “rambling” stories and at times was incoherent. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

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.”


Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Clay Cane. Follow @claycane & @aurnonline for more.

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