kent stateImmortalized with Neil Young’s song, Four Dead In Ohio, this week marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State University shootings, one of the most pivotal moments in the Vietnam War protests.  On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on students who were protesting the announcement by Richard Nixon on April 30, 1970 of the Cambodian Campaign. Killing four and wounding nine others combined with the conservative nature of the student body sparked national outrage and escalated the anti-war movement.  The response was immediate causing the closure of hundreds of universities, colleges and schools as over 4 million students went on strike and parents all over the country began to worry about whether their children could protest in peace.

Photos from the 1970 Valley News-Dispatch.

 

In 1973 Studs spoke with Peter Davies about his book Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience and Barry Levine who was a student at Kent State at the time of the shootings. They discuss the hardline tactics used by school and public officials to quash any protests, as well as the lack of charges filed against anyone in law enforcement or the government in the shooting of 13 peaceful demonstrators. Much of what they discuss is as pertinent today as it was 45 years ago and bears scrutiny during our latest national debate on the right to peacefully protest. Are those who forget the past really doomed to repeat it?

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