91-year-old civil rights pioneer stabbed multiple times while walking her dog in Boston

BOSTON — A 91-year-old civil rights and education activist was stabbed multiple times while walking her dog in Boston’s Franklin Park on Tuesday night.

Emergency crews responding to Playstead Road within the park around 8:30 p.m. found the elderly woman suffering from apparent stab wounds, according to the Boston Police Department.

The victim, whose sister and former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson identified as Dr. Jean McGuire, was taken to an area hospital. She is said to be in stable condition.

“What did he want? Dog walkers don’t carry money. We carry poop bags and ID. That’s all he’s going to get. Unless he has the urge to beat up somebody who’s defenseless,” McGuire’s sister told Boston 25.

Suffolk County DA Kevin Hayden visited McGuire at Beth Israel Hospital Wednesday afternoon. Hayden’s father, Robert Hayden, was a former president of METCO who worked with Jean McGuire.

“Ms McGuire is as spunky as vibrant as ever and is going to be just fine. Praise the Lord!” Hayden said. “I always find hope and refuge in the strength of leaders like her who came before me. And I’m glad to know she is doing well.”

In a tweet, Jackson said, “I am so pissed off to hear this Boston! In the same week that we lost a 14-year-old to senseless gun violence, Jean McGuire, 91, for education and METCO was stabbed at Franklin Park! She fought for our civil rights for years in the face of danger to have a coward stab her.”

When asked about the incident, Mayor Michelle Wu said, “I’m disgusted and angry to know that an elder in our community had to fear for her safety, going about her daily routine, walking her dog. And so, I want to thank our emergency responders for their very quick action to ensure that the healthcare and treatment was so quickly accessed and Boston police, who are pursuing a very active investigation.”

So far, no arrests have been made and police are still trying to track down the suspect. Police noted that a preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect may have been injured during this attack.

McGuire’s sister told Boston 25 that her dog may have bitten the suspect during the encounter.

The reported stabbing happened right next to the Franklin Park Zoo, where the lantern light experience has been going on every night from 6p.m. to 10:30 pm.

McGuire was a leader in the fight for equal rights in education for Black communities in the 1960s. She was also the first Black woman to gain a seat on the Boston School Committee.

Additionally, McGuire served as the executive director of METCO for more than four decades. She is also known for advocating for Black educators, calling for the need for racial and community representation at all levels.

“It was just shocking to know that someone who was part of this community for so many decades, fighting for this community, was stabbed and hurt in the community where she works and lives and walks on a regular basis,” said METCO president Millie Arbaje-Thomas.

In 2020, McGuire was honored during a Boston Celtics game as part of the team’s “Heroes Among Us” program, which recognizes heroic achievements and outstanding citizens in the community.

McGuire grew up attending public schools in Brookline as one of the only Black students in all of her classes.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Boston police detectives at 617-343-4275.

The incident is still under investigation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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