Back in TIME: Remembering the 1950 Assassination Attempt on Truman

  • Share
  • Read Later
Portrait by Greta Kempton, 1948

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Sixty years ago today, it was an assassination attempt that had the world talking.

It was on November 1, 1950, that two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to take out President Harry Truman. The Commander-in-Chief was living in Blair House at the time, as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was being renovated.

Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola never reached their target, but they did kill an officer. TIME described the scene, and reported on the 33rd president’s reaction: “Said he: ‘A President has to expect those things.’ To Admiral William Leahy he added: ‘The only thing you have to worry about is bad luck. I never have bad luck.’ ”

Collazo had some good luck too. Truman commuted the surviving gunman’s death sentence to life imprisonment, and in 1979, President Jimmy Carter pardoned him.