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The Day Harlem Hospital Center Saved The Civil Rights Movement

On September 20, 1958, while signing copies of his book Strive Toward Freedom in Blumstein’s Department Store on West 125th Street. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener by Izola Curry, a black woman who was later determined to be criminally deranged.

Dr. King was rushed to Harlem Hospital Center. After the surgery, Harlem Hospital Center surgeons told Dr. King that the letter opener had been lodged in his chest near his aorta in such a way that he may have died if he so much as sneezed and that he had narrowly escaped death.
While every life that we save or enhance is important, Harlem Hospital Center is particularly honored to have saved the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement.


Dr. Emil Naclerio at the Harlem Hospital Center bedside of a sedated Dr. Martin Luther King.


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