Nineteen fifty-three was what the newspapers called a “year of change.” In January, Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Harry Truman as president. Joseph Stalin died in March, ending the second chapter of Soviet history. In June, following the death of England’s King George VI, his daughter, twenty-seven years old, was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in the first televised coronation. Two weeks later, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., twenty-four, married Coretta Scott, twenty-six, on the lawn of her mother’s house in Marion, Alabama. The next day, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in Old Sparky, the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Julius died instantly, but his wife survived three applications of two thousand volts, almost twenty times the charge delivered by a household electrical socket. Smoke rose from Ethel’s head and from the leather cuffs that bound her wrists to the chair. Still her heart beat. The executioner zapped Ethel twice more before his job was done.
Six days later, on June 25, 1953, Kitty Genovese graduated from high school.
– Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook