History: The Kent State May 4, 1970 Shootings. New Documents Surface, Raise Serious Questions | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

History: The Kent State May 4, 1970 Shootings. New Documents Surface, Raise Serious Questions

The Kent State community commemorated the 51st anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings outside Taylor Hall on Tuesday. It was a solemn gathering as many former students returned to visit the site of a tragedy where the Ohio National Guard opened fire on anti-Vietnam War protestors. The shootings resulted in the deaths of four students and nine others were wounded.

Fast-forward 51 years later and so much has changed on the Kent campus. However, the sadness brought on by the events of May 4th remains. And behind the tears, pain and uncertainty is a longing for answers.

A Timeline of Events

On April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia, a country which remained neutral during the Vietnam War. The announcement was met with a surge in anti-war protests across the country including on college campuses like Kent State University.

Following President Nixon’s announcement, an anti-war rally was held on the Commons on Friday May 1. Protestors delivered anti-war speeches and one demonstrator even buried a copy of the Constitution to symbolize the Nixon Administration’s disregard for the historical document.

On Saturday May 2, the Ohio National Guard was ordered to duty at the university by Governor Rhodes following a request from Kent Mayor Satrom who feared that socalled radicals would destroy the city. Later that evening the ROTC building went up in flames and radical protestors were blamed for causing the fire. However, it is unknown to this day who the real perpetrators were.

By Sunday May 3, nearly 1,000 National Guard troops were present on the campus. Photographs of the university at the time resemble that of a war zone rather than an educational institution. In the morning, Governor Rhodes visited Kent State and held a press conference where he expressed disdain for the anti-war protestors. Due to the nature of the governor’s speech, it was then assumed that all protests and demonstrations were banned.