CityViews: New film explores NYC stabbing that nearly killed MLK

March 19, 2019 - 3:57 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A new documentary about the time Dr. Martin Luther King was stabbed – nearly to death – by a disturbed woman in Harlem will be released this spring. The directors of the film sat down with Sharon Barnes-Waters for this episode of CityViews.

For their film “When Harlem Saved a King,” husband-and-wife directing team Al and Janet Cohen spoke to arresting officers, family members of the five-member surgical team from Harlem Hospital and others who were around at the time.

King was a 29-year-old preacher when he was stabbed with a letter opener by 42-year-old Izola Ware Curry, a mentally-ill black woman. He was at his first book signing at Blumstein’s department store on Sept. 20, 1958. The surgical team from Harlem Hospital saved his life.

“They said that the letter opener came so close to his main artery that if he merely sneezed or coughed, he would have died,” Al Cohen said. “When you listen to his very last speech the night before he was assassinated, he talked about this incident.”

The documentary will be released on April 4 – the 51st anniversary of King’s assassination. The Cohens also have a book with the same name that’s currently on sale and a play that is in production, also with the same name.

For more about “When Harlem Saved a King” and the transformative day in King's life, check out the interview with Al and Janet Cohen above. 

More on the film can be found at