91-year-old Boston woman stabbed at park thanks 'angels'

Jean McGuire, then executive director of METCO, speak at a news conference, Oct. 7, 2003, in Boston. (Julia Malakie/AP File)
Jean McGuire, then executive director of METCO, speak at a news conference, Oct. 7, 2003, in Boston. (Julia Malakie/AP File)

A 91-year-old civil rights activist and education pioneer who was stabbed while walking her dog in a Boston park last week said Tuesday as she was released from the hospital that she no longer feels safe walking alone in the city.

“I’ve never in my 91 years not felt safe in the streets of Boston, day or night, never,” Jean McGuire said during a news conference with family at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, with her right hand and forearm still heavily bandaged. “Now, I will never go up there to the park alone again. It’s in my head that it wouldn’t be wise. It’s a different time.”

McGuire, the first Black woman to serve on the Boston School Committee, was stabbed multiple times in an apparently unprovoked attack near the Franklin Park Zoo between 7:55 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 11, authorities said.

The assailant remains at large and may have sustained injuries during the attack that required medical treatment, police said in an update Monday.

McGuire's dog, a Weimaraner named Bailey, was not injured.

McGuire also thanked the medical personnel who have cared for her in the hospital as well as the strangers who came to her aid, who she decribed as “kids.”

“You’re angels without wings, I’ll tell you that,” she said. “Their parents should be so proud that they cared enough to get help because somebody’s laying on the street bleeding.”

As for her attacker, she said: “I always want to find out why you’re so angry. Or why you want to hurt somebody else."

McGuire in 1966 helped found METCO Inc., the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, a voluntary school desegregation program that sends students of color from Boston to predominantly white suburban schools. She became the program’s executive director in 1973 and served in the position until 2016, according to a biography posted by Northeastern University’s John D. O’Bryant African American Institute.

She studied at Howard University and Boston State College, and taught in a city school for two years before being named the first Black pupil adjustment counselor for Boston Public Schools.

Her family on Tuesday announced the launch of the Jean McGuire Educational and Health Fund at the Boston Foundation, to honor her legacy and improve the lives of Greater Boston youth.



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