US Kent State students’ massacre remembered on the Internet


 Kent State massacre victim

Kent State Massacre: new evidence here.

From Art Threat blog in the USA:

Kent State Massacre Remembered: Online Memorial

On May 4, 1970 four students of Kent State University were shot dead by National Guardsmen during a protest against the US government’s invasion of Cambodia. It was a horrific acting out of violence by the state against its citizens engaged only in the democratically legitimate activity of dissent.

Mike and Kendra’s website – May 4, 1970 – is an online archival memorial about the event and about the subsequent struggle to have actual memorials constructed in the parking lot where the students were killed.

The website documents in detail and with photographs what happened not only on May 4, but in the days leading up to the May 4 killings and the subsequent court trial. The website also provides information about the lesser known Jackson State tragedy where two students were killed and 12 others injured by gun fire from National Guardsmen and local police.

40 Years Ago: Police Kill Two Students at Jackson State in Mississippi, Ten Days After Kent State Killings: here.

Kucinich probes whether FBI informant shot first at Kent State: here.

Kent State: Was It about Civil Rights or 
Murdering Student Protesters? Here.

The Port Huron Statement: A manifesto reconsidered, by Tom Hayden: here.

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10 thoughts on “US Kent State students’ massacre remembered on the Internet

  1. Also on this:

    http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/May-June-08/On-this-Day–Kent-State-Students-Shot-by-Ohio-National-Guard.html

    On this Day: Kent State Students Shot by Ohio National Guard

    May 04, 2008 12:10 AM

    On Sunday, May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on antiwar protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.

    30-Second Summary

    Students had gathered to protest the invasion of Cambodia, which had been announced on April 30. On May 1, a crowd of student protestors and locals became unruly, and there was some property damage. Kent mayor Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency and Ohio governor James Rhodes sent in the Ohio National Guard.

    On May 4, the Guard prepared to break up a rally scheduled for noon in the university Commons area. With guns drawn, the Guard used tear gas canisters to disperse a crowd of students.

    The Guard then marched up a hill, turned around and opened fire on students in a parking lot. Firing 61 shots in 13 seconds, the Guard killed four students and wounded nine.

    The shootings were widely reported in national newspapers, stirring support for the antiwar movement and provoking student protests and strikes. Even conservative campuses became engulfed in student activism and 100,000 students marched through Washington.

    A photograph of a girl weeping over the body of victim Jeffrey Miller became the defining image of not only the shootings, but also the antiwar movement as a whole.

    President Richard Nixon was unsympathetic to the protesters, saying, “This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.” Under intense pressure for his handling of Cambodia and Kent State, he lost the support of the American people and his administration began to unravel.

    Today, the shootings are memorialized annually at Kent State and the four students are remembered as martyrs of the antiwar movement.

    Headline Link: ‘4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops’

    The Adjutant General of the Guard, Sylvester Del Corso, claimed that there had been sniper fire directed towards the Guardsmen, prompting the violent response. John Kifner of The New York Times denied this version of events: “this reporter, who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire, nor was the sound of any gunfire audible before the Guard volley.”
    Source: The New York Times
    go to site http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0504.html#article

    Background: The buildup to the shootings

    Kent State was never a bastion of student activism, but the antiwar movement had become so widespread that it even reached the conservative Ohio school. After Nixon’s announcement of the Cambodian invasion, there were raucous protests, fires, and smashed store windows. After the National Guard arrived, tension between students and the Guard grew steadily. The May 4 Archive provides a chronological account of the events leading up to the shooting, profiles of the victims and witness accounts.
    Source: May 4 Archive
    go to site http://may4archive.org/preface.shtml
    A pair of Kent State professors reviews the events of May 4 and clarifies common misconceptions about the shootings.
    Source: Kent State University
    go to site http://may4archive.org/preface.shtml

    Historical Context: Antiwar activism of the era

    The Kent State shooting followed a turbulent decade marked by antiwar activism and the struggle for civil rights. UC-Berkeley chronicles the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement from 1960-1975.
    Source: University of California, Berkeley Library
    go to site http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet

    Reactions: Antiwar movement gains strength

    A May 18, 1970 article in Time magazine addressed how the shootings had transformed the antiwar movement. Previously, protests were marked by violence and property damage, but leaders soon tried to establish more peaceful means of expressing dissent. “I talked about violent overthrow myself,” said a Kent State student, “But when those rifle bullets cracked past my head, I suddenly realized you can’t fight pigs with bricks. Whatever we do, it’s got to be peaceful.” Meanwhile, Nixon had lost his chance for “wide domestic support, or at least acquiescence, for his policies. Now it is the opposition that has gained strength.”
    Source: CNN [Time magazine]
    go to site http://cgi.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/analysis/back.time/9605/20/
    Kent State student John Filo photographed 14-year old runaway Mary Vecchio kneeling and crying over the body of victim Jeffery Miller. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo became the most memorable image of the tragedy and of the antiwar movement.
    Source: Digital Journalist
    go to site http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0005/filo.htm
    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s song “Ohio,” with its haunting refrain of “Four Dead in Ohio,” became an anthem of the anti-war movement. ThrasherWheat, a Neil Young fan Web site, analyzes the lyrics and provides content for them.
    Source: Thrasher Wheat
    go to site http://www.thrasherswheat.org/fot/ohio.htm

    Reference: Kent State memorial

    Kent State holds yearly commemorations, with speakers, debate, poetry and candlelight vigils.
    Source: Kent State University
    go to site http://dept.kent.edu/may4/

  2. http://www.may41970.com/Jackson%20State/jackson_state_may_1970.htm

    JACKSON STATE
    MAY 1970

    (Text from the Jackson State University web site-Photos by Mike)
    (For Additional Information on the Jackson State shootings scroll to end of this page)

    The May 1970 Tragedy at Jackson State University
    “Lest We Forget…”

    In the Spring of 1970, campus communities across this country were characterized by a chorus of protests and demonstrations. The issues were the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia; the ecology; racism and repression; and the inclusion of the experiences of women and minorities in the educational system. No institution of higher education was left untouched by confrontations and continuous calls for change.

    memorialJSU.JPG (25416 bytes) dormJSU.JPG (21339 bytes)

    Monument erected at Jackson State to murdered students James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs.

    Alexander Hall on the Jackson State campus where police fired on unarmed students in front of the dorm and inside the dorm

    At Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, there was the added issue of historical racial intimidation and harassment by white motorists traveling Lynch Street, a major thoroughfare that divided the campus and linked west Jackson to downtown.

    On May 14-15, 1970, Jackson State students were protesting these issues as well as the May 4, 1970 tragedy at Kent State University in Ohio. Four Kent State students — Alison Krause, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Glenn Miller and William K. Schroeder — were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen.

    According to reports, the riot began around 9:30 p.m., May 14, when rumors were spread that Fayette, Mississippi mayor Charles Evers (brother of slain Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers) and his wife had been shot and killed. Upon hearing this rumor, a small group of students rioted.

    That night, several white motorists had called the Jackson Police Department to complain that a group of blacks threw rocks at them as they passed along the stretch of Lynch Street that bisected the campus. The rock throwing was later attributed by witnesses to a group of non- students.

    The rioting students set several fires and overturned a dump truck that had been left on campus overnight at a sewer line construction site. Jackson firefighters dispatched to the blaze met a hostile crowd that harangued them as they worked to contain the fire. Fearing for their safety, the firemen requested police back-up.

    The police, who later told the media that they had received reports of gunfire in the area around the college up to an hour-and-a-half before they responded to the call, blocked off Lynch Street and cordoned off a 30 block area around the campus. National Guardsmen, still on alert from rioting the previous night, massed on the west end of Lynch Street. Mounted on Armored Personnel Carriers, the guardsmen had been issued weapons, but no ammunition.

    Seventy-five city policemen and Mississippi State Police officers armed with carbines, submachine guns, shotguns, service revolvers and some personal weapons, responded to the call. Their combined armed presence on the Lynch Street side of Stewart Hall, a men’s dormitory, staved off the crowd long enough for the firemen to extinguish the blaze and leave.After the firemen left, the police and state troopers marched along Lynch Street toward Alexander Center, a women’s residence, weapons at the ready. No one seems to know why.

    bulletholes2.JPG (12687 bytes) bulletholes1.JPG (19979 bytes)
    Bullet holes from May 14, 1970 can still be seen on the walls of Alexander Hall;.

    Falling back before the approaching officers, the students congregated in a thick not in front of the dormitory. At this point, the crowd numbered 75 to 100 people. Several students allegedly shouted “obscene catcalls” while others chanted and tossed bricks at the officers, who had closed to within 100 feet of the group.

    The officers deployed into a line facing the students. Someone in the crowd either threw or dropped a bottle which shattered on the asphalt with a loud pop. At the same time, an officer fell, struck by a piece of thrown debris.

    Accounts disagree as to what happened next. Some students said the police advanced in a line, warned them, then opened fire. Others said the police abruptly opened fire on the crowd and the dormitory. Other witnesses reported that the students were under the control of a campus security officer when the police opened fire. Police claimed they spotted a powder flare in the Alexander West Hall third floor stairwell window and opened fire in self-defense on the dormitory only. Two local television news reporters present at the shooting agreed that a shot was fired, but were uncertain of the direction. A radio reporter claimed to have seen an arm and a pistol extending from a dormitory window.

    Whatever actually occurred, the police opened fire at approximately 12:05 a.m., May 15, and continued firing for more than 30 seconds. The students scattered, some running for the trees in front of the library, but most scrambling for the Alexander Hall west end door.

    There was screaming and cries of terror and pain mingled with the noise of sustained gunfire as the students struggled en masse to get through glass double doors. A few students were trampled. Others, struck by buckshot pellets or bullets, fell only to be dragged inside or left moaning in the grass.

    When the order to cease fire was given and the gunfire ceased, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior pre-law major and father of an 18-month-old son, lay dead 50 feet east of the west wing door of Alexander Hall. Two Double-0 buckshot pellets had punched into his head while a third pellet entered just beneath his left eye and a fourth just under his left armpit.

    Across the street, behind the line of police and highway patrolmen, James Earl Green, 17, was sprawled dead in front of B. F. Roberts Dining Hall. Green, a senior at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, was walking home from work at a local grocery store when he stopped to watch the action. He was standing in front of B. F. Roberts Hall when a single buckshot blast slammed into the right side of his chest. The police later claimed that they had taken fire from the direction of B. F. Roberts Hall.

    Twelve other Jackson State students were struck by gunfire, including at least one who was sitting in the dormitory lobby at the time of the shooting. Several students required treatment for hysteria and injuries from shattered glass. Injured and carried to University Hospital for treatment were Fonzie Coleman, Redd Wilson Jr. , Leroy Kenter, Vernon Steve Weakley, Gloria Mayhorn, Patricia Ann Sanders , Willie Woodard, Andrea Reese, Stella Spinks, Climmie Johnson, Tuwaine Davis and Lonzie Thompson.

    The five-story dormitory was riddled by gunfire. FBI investigators estimated that more than 460 rounds struck the building, shattering every window facing the street on each floor. Investigators counted at least 160 bullet holes in the outer walls of the stairwell alone — bullet holes that can still be seen today.

    The injured students, many of whom lay bleeding on the ground outside the dormitory, were transported to University Hospital within 20 minutes of the shooting. But the ambulances were not called until after the officers picked up their shell casings, a U. S. Senate probe conducted by Senators Walter Mondale and Birch Bayh later revealed.

    The police and state troopers left the campus shortly after the shooting and were replaced by National Guardsmen. After the incident, Jackson authorities denied that city police took part in the fusillade. That the highway patrolmen fired was never at issue.

    On June 13, 1970, then President Richard Nixon, established the president’s Commission on Campus Unrest. The commission held its first meeting June 25, 1970. Subsequently, it conducted thirteen days of public hearings in Jackson, Mississippi; Kent State, Ohio; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles, California. At the Jackson hearings, the administration, faculty, staff and students testified. There were no convictions and no arrests.

    In subsequent action, the Jackson City Council voted to close Lynch Street to through traffic. Mayor Russell Davis and Commissioner Tom Kelly voted in favor of permanently closing the thoroughfare while Commissioner Ed Cates cast the only negative vote. It was during this same council meeting that the initials J. R. were added to the existing street signs, denoting J. R. Lynch Street, named for one of Mississippi’s leading black statesmen who served during Reconstruction — Congressman John R. Lynch.

    Shortly after the closing of John R. Lynch Street, a plaza was constructed near Alexander Center. The Gibbs-Green Plaza is a favorite gathering spot for students and the site of many outdoor programs and activities. Just north of the plaza and directly in front of Alexander Hall is the Gibbs-Green Monument, a permanent memorial to the slain students and a tangible reminder to all students that the Jackson State Tragedy must never be forgotten.

    In March 1996, a national conference was held at Jackson State University. “From Tragedy to Triumph: Perspectives on the Jackson State University Gibbs/Green Experience” examined the impact the May 1970 tragedy had upon the local, state and national communities, both African American and at large. With major support from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the conference called for papers and involved middle and high school students, survivors of the tragedy and nationally recognized scholars. The conference opened with Tim Spofford, editor of the Albany Times, who spent several years researching the death of the two students who were slain at Jackson State. His interest and his research led to his writing Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College. Conference materials as well as other artifacts related to the Gibbs/Green tragedy are housed in the H. T. Sampson Library Archives at Jackson State University.

    LYNCH STREET can be ordered from the Kent State University Press

  3. Well, i think that it was horrible that this happened to the young students of kent state, but the mob of “hippies” was insanely out of control so they were forced to shoot. yes they could have handled it with more care but basically in a mob they are saying ” kill me while im protesting against a war that needed to be fought” i know my opinion dosent matter and the fact that it happened 25 years ago. the police accaully killed the students but yet the liberals still are on the polices side.

  4. Hi Emma, “forced to shoot”? Really? Did the “mob of “hippies”” wound or kill anyone? “the police accaully killed the students”; no, the National Guard killed them. “yet the liberals still are on the polices side.” What do you mean with that sentence?

    “it happened 25 years ago.” No, 38 years ago.

    “a war that needed to be fought”? really? Why did over three million Vietnamese have to be killed? See on the Vietnam war: here.

  5. What lessons were learned from May 4? Firstly, that government of, by, and for the people includes guns. So, students today do not protest the government. They ‘want’ to participate in our economic system – that is why being 20 years old and $50,000.00 in debt is so important – especially when if the choice would have been to join a gun group they would not have to pay that. So, the cost of having actually to fight in one or both wars is avoided. The extent our military has involved our everyday existance is felt when a Lt. Col. at age 38 is killed in Iraq or Afganistan. What was he still toting a rifle for – was there no job available him.her in the ‘real’ world? And, our career military lives on one truth – the longer you stay in, the more you get paid. Wish it was true for college students, too!

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