Woman who stabbed Martin Luther King Jr. dies at 98 in Queens

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The woman who tried to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958 died earlier this month at a Queens nursing home, according to a published report.

Izola Ware Curry, 98, passed away on March 7 at the Hillside Manor nursing home in Jamaica Estates, the New York City medical examiner’s office confirmed to the The Smoking Gun.

A native of Georgia who relocated to New York City in 1937, Curry stabbed King in the chest with a letter opener during a book signing at a Harlem department store. She also had a loaded gun with her at the time.

Curry had reportedly developed paranoid delusions about the NAACP, King and other civil rights leaders, believing they were surveilling her and causing her to lose jobs.

Following her arrest at the scene, Curry was found not competent to stand trial, diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and committed to Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane.

Ten days after the attack, King — while still undergoing treatment at Harlem Hospital — publicly forgave Curry, adding that he harbored “no ill will” toward her. In April 1968, the civil rights leader was assassinated by James Earl Ray at a Memphis, Tenn., hotel.

According an August 2014 report from The Smoking Gun that tracked Curry down to the Hillside Manor nursing home, she had been living in Queens for about 40 years with apparently little notice.


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