On 20th September 1958, a decade before his assassination, Martin Luther King was stabbed in his chest with a steel letter opener by Izola Curry (who passed away in March 2015). As the tip of the blade had come "right up against his aorta" the next day the New York Times reported that King would have died had he merely sneezed. Among his mail was a letter from a young student at White Plains High School in New York. "And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it." (via)
"Days later, when I was well enough to talk with Dr. Aubrey Maynard, 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.'" (via)
On 4th April 1968, Martin Luther King was standing on Lorraine Motel's (which is now part of Memphis's National Civil Rights Museum) second-floor balcony when James Earl Ray's bullet entered through his right cheek. King died within an hour after an emergency chest surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital. His autopsy revealed that although he was only 39 years old, he "had the heart of a 60 year old." 13 years in the civil rights movement had taken their toll (via).
President Johnson declared 7th April a national day of mourning, more than 100.000 mourners followed King's coffin through the streets of Atlanta. During his funeral, a recording of Martin Luther King's last sermon was played:
"I'd like someone to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. . . . I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. . . . And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity." (via)
photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via
copyright by the respective owners