Home > Martin Luther King, Jr. stabbed...
Click image to enlarge 618846
Show image list »

Martin Luther King, Jr. stabbed...

Item # 618846

September 21, 1958

THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL, Memphis, Tennessee, September 21, 1958 

* Early Martin Luther King Jr. 
* Harlem, New York stabbing 
Izola Ware Curry 

The front page is a one column heading: "Woman Knifes Boycott Leader In Harlem Store" with related photo on page S8 (inside). 1st report coverage on the stabbing of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Harlem, New York. Nice to have from the city where he would be shot and killed about 10 years later.
Other news, sports and various advertisements of the day throughout. A complete, thick Sunday edition of more than 70+ pages, binding holes along the spine, minor margin wear, generally in nice condition.

wikipedia notes: Izola Ware Curry is an African-American woman who attempted to assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Georgia, she stabbed King with a letter opener at a New York City book signing on September 20, 1958.

Curry was born in Adrian, Georgia and moved to New York at the age of 20 where she found work as a housekeeper. Shortly after moving she developed delusions about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders.

When Strive Toward Freedom was published, King went on a tour to promote it. During a book signing at a department store in New York City, a well-dressed woman approached and asked him if he was Martin Luther King, Jr. When King replied in the affirmative, she said, "I've been looking for you for five years," then stabbed him the chest with a steel letter opener.

King was immediately taken by ambulance to Harlem Hospital, where surgeons spent three hours to removing the blade from its precarious position. "Days later," King writes in his posthumously published autobiography, "when I was well enough to talk with Dr. Hal Meadows, the chief of the surgeons who performed the delicate, dangerous operation, I learned the reason for the long delay that preceded surgery. He told me that the razor tip of the instrument had been touching my aorta and that my whole chest had to be opened to extract it. 'If you had sneezed during all those hours of waiting,' Dr. Maynard said, 'your aorta would have been punctured and you would have drowned in your own blood.'"

While still in the hospital, King demonstrated his characteristic calm and Christian charity in a September 30 press release in which he reaffirms his belief in "the redemptive power of nonviolence" and issues a hopeful statement about his attacker. "I felt no ill will toward Mrs. Izola Currey [sic] and know that thoughtful people will do all in their power to see that she gets the help she apparently needs if she is to become a free and constructive member of society."

On October 17, minutes after hearing King's testimony, a grand jury indicted Mrs. Curry for attempted murder. As a result of her indictment and subsequent hearings, she was adjudicated incompetent to stand trial and was committed to Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane.[

Category: The 20th Century