The Dangers of Leadership
In 1958, while signing copies of his book “Stride Toward Freedom" in Harlem, he was attacked by Izola Curry, a mentally-ill black woman who believed he was working against her with the communists. She stabbed him with a letter opener. He was rushed to surgery and spent several weeks in the hospital. Curry was found incompetent to stand trial.
Along with constant death threats, King was surveyed by the FBI. His phones, and those of his associates, were tapped. The government was searching for connections with communism and attempts to subvert the government.
The probes did reveal evidence of King's extra-marital affairs. Ralph Abernathy, in his autobiography, insists that King and other women were aware of the Bible's teachings on adultery and any relationships were emotional rather than sexual. David Garrow, in his book “Bearing the Cross", says that women were King's primary weakness and this caused him tremendous guilt.
Just before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he received the following letter:
The American public, the church organizations that have been helping—Protestants, Catholics and Jews will know you for what you are—an evil beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significant). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.
In March of 1968, King travelled to Memphis, Tennessee, to support working striking for better wages and conditions. His departure from the city was delayed by a bomb threat at the airport. April 4, he was shot and killed while standing before the window of his hotel room. James Earl Ray, a convicted thief with no history of using weapons, confessed to the assassination but recanted his confession three days later. Police and the FBI were observing the hotel at the time of the killing. Conspiracy theories about the issue abound. King's colleague James Bevel stated: “There is no way a ten cent white boy could develop a plan to kill a million dollar black man."