Although the incident is barely discussed in the history of Dr. King, the moment was
King was immediately rushed to Harlem Hospital, where doctors reportedly said that if he sneezed, it would have ruptured his aorta and killed him instantly.
True to his public stance, King held no malice toward Curry and instead responded to the attack compassionately. He mentioned the stabbing after returning to Montgomery, Ala., in October that same year, while speaking to supporters at Dennelly Field Airport:
I am deeply sorry that a deranged woman should have injured herself in seeking to injure me. I can say, in all sincerity, that I bear no bitterness toward her and I have felt no resentment from the sad moment that the experience occurred.
I know that we want her to receive the necessary treatment so that she may become a constructive citizen in an integrated society where a disorganized personality need not become a menace to any man.
Arrested on the scene, Curry was also found to have a loaded gun on her person and spoke in a disconnected fashion. She believed that the NAACP and King were “boycotting and “torturing” her. Curry also thought that King and other leaders caused her to lose her job and that they were mired in Communist politics.
“If it wasn’t him, it would have been me; he was going to kill me,” said Curry to police after her arrest. She was later committed to Bellevue Hospital for observation and declared unfit to stand trial. In October, she was sent to Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane.
Author Hugh Pearson released a book discussing the little-known moment in time in the 2004 title “When Harlem Nearly Killed King.” Pearson dug deep and alleged that King snubbed a Black bookshop owner for the signing event by instead opting to go with the Jewish department store owners. The book also discusses that the surgeon who claimed to save King’s life didn’t even complete the operation.
No matter the greater details, King’s legacy remains intact and his ability to look past the attempt on his life speaks volumes about his character and life’s mission.