The Kent State Massacre: 50 years after the shooting of 4 college students changed America

Mary Ann Vecchio gestures and screams as she kneels by the body of a student lying face down on the campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
The May 4, 1970 incident, now known as the Kent State Massacre, radically changed the nation.
It provoked a nationwide student strike which forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close. Life magazine is Newsweek cover stories dedicated to the accident. The New York Times he famously showed the now iconic photograph of a young woman screaming while kneeling on the body of a student from Kent State.
The shootings reversed the trend of public opinion against the Vietnam war and some political officials even discussed who played a role in the fall of the Nixon administration. Today, the accident symbolizes the political and social divisions caused by the Vietnam war.
Kent State is to commemorate the event with a virtual program that includes a candlelight vigil, a radio game, interactive apps that allow users to explore the events surrounding the filming and video interviews with students from Kent State.

Monday’s schedule starts at noon ET.

The Kent State Massacre

When Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States in 1968, it was partly because he had promised to end the Vietnam war. So when it announced two years after the United States had invaded Cambodia, anti-war activists across the nation soon erupted in protest.

One of these protests occurred on May 1, 1970 on the Kent State University campus in Kent, Ohio. Students denounced the war and buried a copy of the Constitution to symbolize that Congress had not officially declared war, according to a article from the university.

Then, in the evening, what started as a peaceful protest on the streets of central Kent turned into a violent clash between protesters and local police. The mayor of the city declared a state of emergency and the huge police force that was called in the end used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

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The stake at the ROTC building takes the Ohio National Guard to campus.

Fearing further disruption, the mayor asked the governor of Ohio the next day to send the state national guard to Kent. Clashes between guards and demonstrators continued on 2 and 3 May, with a ROTC building on campus that eventually went up in flames. It is not clear who was responsible for the fire.

On May 4, students gathered again for another demonstration to demonstrate both against the war and against the presence of the Ohio National Guard on campus, despite the attempt by university leaders to inform the campus that such meetings had been banned . About 3,000 people had gathered in the middle of the campus by 11am, according to the university.
Guards patrol the empty Kent State University campus on May 6, 1970.

Shortly before noon, the guards ordered the protesters to disperse. When the crowd refused to leave, the guards fired tear gas at the students and started following them directly. After several confrontations, the troops returned to the top of a steep hill, where they turned to the protesters and fired into the crowd for 13 seconds.

Four students were killed and nine were injured. The university was immediately closed and millions of students on campuses across the country protested the accident.

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