Jean McGuire

Jean McGuire: ‘Angels Without Wings' Helped Her After She Was Stabbed in Franklin Park

The 91-year-old civil rights activist and education leader spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday since being stabbed in a Boston park last week

NBC Universal, Inc.

Trailblazing Boston civil rights activist Jean McGuire was all smiles Tuesday morning as she prepared to leave Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she was treated after being stabbed in Franklin Park last week.

Despite the circumstances, the 91-year-old education leader was filled with humor and gratitude, as she was joined by family and her care team at the hospital to share details on her recovery, and announce a new endeavor to give back to the Boston community she loves so much.

"We take for granted good healthcare," McGuire said, with her arm in a cast, but sounding and looking as vibrant as ever. "But there's nothing like the high quality that you get at a place like Beth Israel, Boston Medical Center and Tufts, in a city like Boston."

In an act of violence that shocked the community, the co-founder of Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity was attacked while walking her dog, Bailey, last Tuesday. There still have not been any arrests made.

Civil rights trailblazer Jean McGuire, who is 91 years old, was stabbed while walking her dog in Franklin Park Tuesday night. That attack came just a day after a teen was shot and killed not too far away, on Washington Street.

The McGuire family expressed their gratitude for not only the care that Jean got from doctors, but also the support from people across the city.

"On behalf of the family, we would like to thank the entire Boston community, family, extended family and friends for being there during this time," one of McGuire's nephews, Mark Williams, said. "I would also like to take a moment for the family to give a special thank you to the two individuals who found our aunt after she was attacked by the assailant."

"They truly saved her life, and the family is extremely, extremely grateful," Williams continued.

McGuire said she doesn't remember much from the attack, but called the people who helped her "angels without wings."

"Their parents should be so proud that they cared enough to get help for somebody laying on the street bleeding," McGuire said. "There's a lot I don't remember. I don't let it bother me now. You all took care of me and so you move on but you do have to be prepared to protect yourself in the future."

Jean McGuire served as the executive director of METCO, which aims to increase racial diversity in Massachusetts by allowing students to attend schools outside their districts, for 43 years, from 1973 to 2016.

She said in her 91 years, she's can't remember ever feeling unsafe while walking the streets of Boston, but now feels that going to the park by herself would be unwise.

McGuire, though, spoke more about issues she was passionate about fixing, rather than what happened to her. She discussed inflation, healthcare for students and making sure people had enough food to eat. Her "kindness and generosity" was not lost on the surgeon who operated on her, Dr. Sammy Dowlatshahi, who noted that her hospital room was "a room of light."

He said she can expect a "very satisfactory" recovery, and get back to the things she loves, like her work and swimming in the pool.

Her family encouraged the community to get in touch with police if they know anything at all about who her attacker was, and "stand up for Jean."

They also asked that people show their support by offering donations to the newly-established Jean McGuire Educational and Health Fund, which looks to help out young people in Boston, and honor McGuire's legacy.

Contact Us