I am reposting this because February is approaching and we will see a lot of false information attached to Black History memes, same as always.
According to a famous Facebook post, King was not killed during an April 4, 1968, assassination attempt, but survived that shooting and was later “smothered by someone in the hospital.”
Is this true?
It’s Throwback Thursday so let’s go back in time a lil bit.
September 20, 1958
The year is 1958 and we are in Harlem, baby. Dr. King is signing copies of his first book “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” at the Blumstein’s Department Store, on 230 West 125th Street.
It’s a nice afternoon and young King is just twenty-nine years old, releasing his first book and feeling good. And we are feeling good too because we are ready to get our copy. The line is long but before we get bored a voice makes us all stop and look in their direction.
“Is this Martin Luther King?” shouts a well-dressed black woman wearing rhinestone glasses and a matching necklace and earrings but carried an ugly brown bag and an even uglier scowl. The woman stepped out of line, causing groans from the people in front of her.
We don’t know this yet, but she is forty-two-year-old Izola Ware Curry, the black daughter of sharecroppers.
King nodded, “Yes, it is.”
“I’ve been looking for you for five years,” says Curry while pulling a letter opener with an ivory handle from her purse, which we don’t really know is a letter opener because we don’t use those anymore.
“Ooh, snap!” We gasp, placing our hands over our mouths. “Why she come so dressed up for if she was trying to kill somebody?”
“What is she doing?” says another one of us.
“Yea, man. Doesn’t she know this is Martin Luther King?”
“He not all that popular yet,” says a young black boy wearing chino pants and a white polo shirt. He put his hand in his pocket when he said it, smiled and then tilted his head like he was better than us. “Ya’ll not from here, are ya?”
Before we could answer, the sound of screams forces our attention back to the direction of the strange woman. She swings the letter opener at King, and sliced his finger then plunges the seven-inch blade into the left side of his chest.
“Oh, my God!” someone screams and just like that, the store is in an uproar. We are all screaming and running as someone apprehends the woman.
We look at King secretly hoping she didn’t get him because we still kinda want our book.
But when we see somebody who looks like our Grandma rush to his side, we know that’s not going to happen.
Dr. King is sitting in this chair all calm and cool like he ain’t just been stabbed. Meanwhile the letter opener’s ivory handle is still protruding just below his collar.
The police arrive. “Don’t sneeze, don’t even speak,” says Officer Al Howard, fearful of the blade’s proximity to King’s heart. Because of how the letter opener hit him, if King had sneezed, he would have died.
So, they move King slowly and carefully and take him to Harlem Hospital, and he undergoes emergency surgery.
Then, we jump in our time machine and head back to 2021 because it’s wild out here in the 50s.
The photo at the start of this post is not of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after being shot in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
That is a picture of Dr. King ten whole years earlier in 1958 at a New York Hospital after being stabbed at his book signing. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital recovering.
“If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” – Martin Luther King Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” April 3, 1968
I hope this creative backdrop added some perspective. Although I wrote it like a short story, everything I said here is the truth. Izola Curry, really did attack Dr. King at his book signing in Harlem.
Now to the original post…
There are tons of Black History memes circulating on the internet and this number has increased even more due to it being Black History Month. However, many of these memes are not historically accurate. Please be sure to double check your facts before sharing. Otherwise, you are guilty of spreading disinformation.
Black people have contributed to the world so that we don’t have to make stuff up. If you see a meme with a fun fact on it, just open the internet on your phone and type the name or fact into the search bar. You can tell from there if the material is accurate or not. Sometimes it will even come up that the information is an opinion or cannot be verified by any trusted source.
Use not only your phone to log into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use it to research these things and educate the people right.
Look for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on .gov, .edu, or .org sites and trustworthy blogs. Peer-reviewed means information from a reputable source, information that shows that other professionals have reviewed and deemed it worthy of publication.
Wikipedia is not a credible source alone. Other trusted sources should support anything gained from Wiki.
And on the Monday of MLK day when everyone takes off and celebrates his legacy, remember that he was born on January 15, 1929, not whatever Monday you take off.