NYCindieFF presents: When Harlem Saved A King
The NYC Independent Film Festival will present over 275 awesome indie films! The lineup includes drama, short films, TV Pilots, music videos and panel discussions with professional filmmakers. And documentaries like: When Harlem Saved A King
A film by Al Cohen & Wayne Davis
In September 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King was still an unknown activist when he was stabbed while signing his new book "Stride Toward Freedom" at the Blumstein Department Store in Harlem, New York. His attacker was a 42-year-old black woman.
King survived and the event was almost forgotten because back then he was still that unknown activist. The documentary 'When Harlem Saved a King' explores the life of his attacker, Izola Curry. Who was she? What happened to her?
The story of Izola Curry is hardly ever told to any of us in school. Even the story of the stabbing of Martin Luther King isn't widely known. While local media reported Dr. King's attempted assassination in the department store on 125th Street, the story did not become national news because he was not a prominent public figure at the time.
King himself reminded us of the incident ten years later in his last speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop"
Doctors said because the letter opener with which he was stabbed grazed the surface of his aorta, the attempt would have been successful if Izola Curry had stabbed harder or if someone removed the object improperly, he probably would have drowned in his own blood.
But mystery remained surrounding attacker Izola Curry. Who was she? What happened to her? And why did this woman attempt to kill an activist who stood up for her own rights as a black woman in segregated America?
With their 90 minute documentary (visit: https://www.nycindieff.com/
Izola Gray was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was committed to the Matteawan State Hospital in Harlem. For the outside world she vanished from that point. In the film we see how she was finally adopted by her family after her release and lived a life in silence, never again speaking about the murder attempt.
Although the media portrayed Curry as a deranged woman with no real motive to kill Dr. King, both Cohen and Davis say that they have compelling evidence that Curry may have been part of a larger conspiracy to thwart the impending Civil Rights Movement. Even when she was held in prison she received money donations, mostly from King's home state Georgia.
Apart from trying to solve all these questions and mysteries around the stabbing of Martin Luther King, the filmmakers also say their documentary pays homage to the 'unsung heroes' from the Harlem community who helped Dr. King's life. ,,Harlem was never given a badge of honor as it relates assisting in the Civil Rights Movement. But Harlem can stand up tall and realize that it had a very major impact on that Movement," says Al Cohen.
'When Harlem Saved a King' will be screened at the NYC Independent Film Festival on Thursday 9 May at 12:15 PM and Saturday 11 May at 8.30 PM at The Producers Club, 358 W 44th St, New York
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