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In the recent Richard Nixon David Frost television interviews former President Nixon said that he had told Henry Kissinger to forget the student demonstrations of the 60s and 70s. Nixon told Kissinger that Lot's wife never looked back. Nixon added that he was sorry for the families of the three students who had died at Kent State. Well Richard Nixon seems to have successfully put the shootings at Kent out of his mind. Four students died there on May 4th 1970 not three. Nine more were injured and seven years after the tragedy it can't. The University Board of Trustees has announced plans to have a gymnasium built on the site where Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a group of unarmed students. Richard Nixon university president Glenn olds the board of trustees and Governor Rhodes who ordered the guard on campus are eager to put May 4th 1970 behind them. But the families of the dead the survivors of the shootings and the students it can't State University will not forget. They are occupying the proposed gym site and they have vowed not to leave until the board of trustees changes construction plans and publicly acknowledges the injustice of the Kent State shootings on Saturday June 4th
977 a national rally was held at the university to protest against the board's decision. Tonight through interviews and excerpts from speeches given at the university in one thousand seventy one thousand nine hundred seventy four. And on Saturday June 4th 1977 some of the activities at Kent State since May of 1970. You were here the day of the shooting. You coming over here remember it now. Well it's really not very difficult to construct it's just hard to talk about. And I had come back from a class and I might have been involved in some demonstrations are going on and we can be united go to the rally. And I went to the rally for about 500 people that were actually a part of the rally. They were on the practice field huddled around the president just like this.
We had a curfew that was imposed by the mayor and the governor of Ohio imposed martial law and we were allowed to be one of the groups of three and it was just a pretty bad thing to go through and that you know everybody who was there that day you know was there because they wanted the National Guard on the campus. A lot of tension that had been built up. I was running into the building and as I was running and I heard firing start and I looked back and people were running in the other direction. They were yelling are blank blanks. And I started to go in and then I came at me were still firing and then I still heard you know I can remember of people screaming and yelling in the blanks and I went out I realized that it wasn't blanks of blood that I saw and I was still kind of in a day and I walked around and becoming a stripper and then students went down on the other side of the hill and the National Guard had gone back for the ring around the ROTC building that had been burned down on Saturday and they
had the rifles pointed at us and a group about a thousand citizens stand on the hillside University professor came up and said that he had just gone to the General Canterbury and Canterbury and given orders to shoot shoot to kill excuse me if we moved anywhere there down the hill the students sent people back to the dorms and they were prepared to to stay there. And finally when it became clear that the National Guard wasn't willing to stop the poor people there. University in the state officials who are in charge of the university at that time you know realize that your students were producers and there might be a real battle promotion on there and we had no guns we were just sitting there. I think that's more universal. That's where the state and so we were all sent home.
I say to you youngsters you got big. Time you young folks in America go have to write the history of what happened here to university. But if I get a shot right it. May 4 1970 University. Can Ohio. National doormen moved on a college campus so white folks decided to so would you shouldn't be on a college campus. So they marched on the soldiers. They threw sticks and stones at the soldiers. They didn't believe her so just what few the soldiers shot and late day what we call a chapter book they say repeats itself. She would never have to see what they call it go back a hundred eighteen hundred seventy three of history repeat. History. Let's try to want to go back to seventeen hundred seventy says there were two Manusky repeats when I began. Seventeen hundred
seventy one Boston Massachusetts. The British move followed you to Boston one day. Of who was the and why. Some white folks decided the British soldiers shouldn't be in Boston so they marched on the Boston Commons one night. They threw snowballs at the British soldiers. They didn't believe the soldiers would shoot the soldiers shot. And lay there. And why. Thanks. Man I call that snap. Oh the shot that was heard around the world. Thanks. That was Dick Gregory speaking at Kent State on the first anniversary of the shootings
three years later on May 4th 974. Julian Bond was among the speakers at the memorial demonstration. In the remainder of the 70s. We are likely to see a new and different kind of violence. You on this campus have already seen the violence the state can impose. But violence is more than the murders done here. The bullets in the back at Orangeburg the killings that Jackson the shootings at Southern University. Violence is black children going to school for 12 years and emerging with a sixth grade education. Violence is 30 million hungry stomachs in the most a fluent nation on the face of the earth. Violence is having nonwhite people represent a disproportionate share of the inductees and casualties and Viet Nam. Making us first in war last in peace and seldom in the hearts of our countrymen.
Thank you. Thank you. Violence is an economy which believes in socialism for the wealthy and fiscal fascism and capitalism for the poor. Violence is Richard Nixon listening to your telephone conversation. I thank you but there is an antidote to that kind of violence. And antidote which began with Denmark Veasey and that Turner. Was given impetus by Dr Dubois and the Niagara Movement was spurred by Martin Luther King and thousands of nameless fighters for freedom. It is the building of a massive and mighty movement. A movement which at times has attracted a mass following but which all too often has been the province of a few. But movements are not built on the helpful motions of a
few. But on the determined actions of the many. More than people died here four years ago. Murder was done to a massive movement of the young. The small time William Calley's who pull the triggers on orders of governors or presidents killed people and protests too. This year's Memorial rally was different than those of previous years. Carter dog one of the organizers talked about the series of events that led up to the occupation of blanket Hill. Every May 4th we have commemorative activities during the day and workshops and the evening this May 4th we had our commemorative activities and drew about 3000 people. We marched downtown then about fifteen hundred of us and got back to the university. People started talking about this stuff about the university wanting to build a gymnasium on the site where the four students were shot. And as we were talking about we realized that the Board of Trustees at that moment were meeting in the administration building. So we went over to the
administration building and tried to talk to them they wouldn't talk to us. So we got the president of the university in the room kept in there for eight hours occupied the building kept in there for eight hours and in the course of that meeting the May 4th coalition was born to carry out eight demands generated at that occupation of the administration building the demands included amnesty for those who sat in Iraq while Hall and for those who missed classes on May 4th that the school begin negotiating with the Kent faculty union and at the Center for peaceful change a university department established after the killings at Kent State be reinstated. The demands that have yet to be met include the renaming of four school buildings after the dead students establishing a day of mourning on May 4th and that the Board of Trustees admit to the coverup and injustices of the National Guard. The final demand is that the gymnasium not be built at the site. Never. Let up on that hill. It looks like.
I'm going home. OK OK Ron Kovacs a disabled Vietnam veteran took part in the May 4th sit in at Rockwell hall. He was also a speaker at the rally a month later. I told you. One month ago OK. You know. That I wouldn't put my heart. Out. There. Oh I buy the government thing that. I mean. I don't you. And your government. Want violent. Government and. I want you to know. That I'm not anymore.
I want you to know. When I want. As much you know. When I'm. Sure. We have physical evidence. I think this country.
Has. Continued to. We're going to make you change country you know. Change Greg Rambo one of the organizers who spoke with Y so during the rally. Peter Davies the author of The Truth About can't state criticize the university for its insensitivity to issues relating to the shootings. Was that when you hear. This. You know going to the. Endeavor to minimize. Your star go you go and google important what happened here are made for one thing that would be. Better but there was a lot. Of Nixon domestic policy. That there was a crime
that nobody's investigation and through trial proved it to be. Then they went out of its way. To resist all of you know all of that technology. And have stubbornly ignore the obvious. Time and time again that the old and aggravated the wounds that might bore. Like baling would breath and. The moral and legal issues raised by the ones that took place in that parking lot. Quite desperately trying to bury me for. 10 days and succeeded in making that day. It's a future nemesis. By refusing to give him points to make for. Penn State has succeeded in perpetuating the image of a heartless university so dominated by state politics. You can already tell it's basic rights as citizens of the United
States. Despite the horrors and death came down on this campus seven years ago a hundred or so wooden and their supporters have courageously that and let your protest ever change the size of the feeling the determination and conviction of those protected to be applauded. The challenge here is moral. Legal and historical. If you would just think about what happened instead of political divisive context that you so successfully advocated for their own devious then then I believe you understand tent city. I am.
I am. I am. Is this where it is. And you say what. Well one.
Thing is happening. So wonder just how much more paying the administrative trustees of Penn State are prepared to inflict on the parents of the day before they will face reality and come to terms with what happened on May 4th 1970. So bail on any part of such a site is tantamount to saying killing the dead all over again. The gymnasium and. Must be built elsewhere not. At the
time is now for Penn State University to demonstrate that he really cares about what happens to many times in the past. It having been such insensitivity that someone happy in Russian it could only have happened here. Even before the killing began when President Robert White rendered his responsibility and of it was that hangs from the Ohio National Guard. It continued after the university was shut down. That object. With a doubt. Rebounding on the one you wish and. I know what do you want to make sure. That all of them. Went out with appropriate levels of sympathy. And that nine of them were now with no expressing concern for the wounded. I still remember. The anguish and the anger. Of the grouses boy. And he told me about the check of
several hundred dollars. Made payable. To a dead daughter. It was in their car as they both being repeatedly attempted to bury mainboard and it in their brain. The border right now is going to accomplish the part with all those of you as an example of actual education. If I mean you and I have. And I stand by you people. You're trying to get me and I haven't yet. You're very good education I received here I can't just write having a classroom there are three hours time we're going to have it here at Camp and I told my little girl down there was working on the fire escape writing a very very concrete changes to our 1978 checker for was amongst the group of 25
who originally held responsible for the demonstration that ended in the shootings. Her husband was one of the nine students wounded. American education after your candidate today taking place on the arm here in question we were here today are fighting very hard to get where you can get a good guy here who sacrificed in my heart. Today parents and America becoming a future has been going on there. And I'm going to back it up. Thank you no argument from me you can see it coming. And this landmark determine your prisoner getting 100 making a living in high gear. We get that here now you are our strength. Thank you for having me.
We're. Going to college and growing up I guess I'm going to say it when you have a problem. Best thing to do is to hang around. Do you with that look at square in the face if you have to stay on the ground decided OK you're going to move in till we get this thing settled and I think that's what's happening at camp today. President Merrill's is basically the perpetrator of this thing by the board of trustees who were appointed by Governor Rendell who sent the National Guardsmen and can't shoot students it's a historical event that happened here and its importance and its relevance its situation feeling emotional. Thank you something you live with everybody. So to us that what happened here seven years or so years ago and significant enough to build a gymnasium an area code right size where the National Guardsmen were walking
around. Which brings me to the most important point that I think that something I want to say here in this part of my speech is that they've been saying it doesn't correct theory where the students were shot one student I should say I would agree with that as we were over there about a hundred yards away from the nation's cars just yards away or whatever. We were out we were in the football field there march from the time that he will down to the fact that fields can be covered at their house back out about three fourths of its going to be covered up. Now the fact that they're covering up their own tracks and trying to enclose the area in such an area such a way that there ever is another trial the jury if you look down over that hill and say well their excuse seems to be pretty
foul because it's a. The smaller they were up against the wall which by the way these are second excuses why they fired first there was the sniper. Well know about the infamous sniper. Now disprove that. German general of the United States about shootings they were unnecessary and warning inexcusable. We're not going to do anything about it. Maybe yelling will do is allow somebody to do something in here in the next few years. That's what they're building something they're going to track. Down memory that. What happened here. And not in the. Morning. One. But working. Thank God. That. You. Say. You will let.
Everybody know. Because they will not have you except. They know the symbolism. That. They know nothing you say how can we see somewhat different than it was this time last year that was William Kunstler who was also present at the rally. Another speaker was Ben but all of the newspaper The Guardian the doll talked about Kent State's relationship to history the murder part of the life of the product. Would they really know about the right to do that. I mean you could do that or you want to become infected and that's not a new idea because they did not read about it and they and we don't have to go very far back in our history to find out. How many you recall the murder of black jack. How many here call the mark of the 1971 the National Guard opened
fire on a demonstration of water and go where one would with killed and before that hearing a black in our great South Carolina. And of course one massacre they will never be able to erase from the history books. The carnage of that a few weeks ago we had the Memorial Day weekend. They like to tell you they gave everyone a day off. Take picnic and we're supposed to be memorializing the people who have died in wars. Fought by the US for what. Why does one want a modern day impact of a memorial to the strikers not 50 miles from here in Akron Ohio who laid their lives on the line in a sit down strike at the rubber plant to get a union. What would the impact today B of A memorial of that type. I think from the point of view of the Goodyear Tire Company not a very good impact and it is for the number one reason that the administration of this row doesn't want any monuments built on freedom Hill.
They'd rather put the whole thing behind it sweep it away like Vietnam like like war again. They stay that the victors are the writers of history I guess. The administration here thinks that they won the battle of Kent State they are under an illusion they did not win the battle and that's not just empty rhetoric. What they did here isolated them and strengthen the US. We won that struggle because we exposed before the eyes of the world criminality not just the war but of the government and the system. Which bred it we are the victors and we demand to write the true history that history is not going to be buried under a gymnasium. It's not going to be buried on the exoneration of Governor Rhodes. And all the national guardsmen. Not all the Congress nor in the world can vary and will fight to keep that Israel belongs to America and will fight to get.
It is aggression. It's our aggression. We're not on the wrong side in Vietnam. We are the wrong side and we are today and we always have them. Thanks Daniel Ellsberg appeared at the 1974 memorial rally where Julian Bond spoke although on the surface the issues may appear to have changed. Ellsberg words are still relevant. The only weapon we have left is not to forget we're here today to remember not forgetting is not our only weapon it's not a sufficient weapon but it's the beginning of all the others and the government understands that very well. They won't don't want to even to know in the first place as I say the Lavelle raids were kept secret by an extraordinary system of false reporting for a year prior to the Kent killings here which were in connection with the protest against the ground invasion of Cambodia. We had been secretly bombing Cambodia with B-52s for an entire year
and that had been hidden from Congress hidden from the public not merely by lies and concealment but by actual false pieces of paper that were going up the whole channel and being ultimately given to Congress. There was an exact counterpart to what we find in 1984 or we found a huge bureaucracy of the Ministry of Peace which was devoted to war and the Ministry of Truth devoted to lies. We found the entire bureaucracy churning out false history pieces of paper to keep from anyone that leaders had ever lied to them or ever been wrong. The motto of the party in 1984 was this. Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past. Helen your first sang the song it could have been me at the May 4th 1974
memorial rally in Kent Ohio. And so I just
expressed my thanks to all of you I love you with all her heart. Each year each day that things go on here change makes it real hard for me to talk inside about this whole thing. You can sort of tell our man feel good about myself. I think I can say all I have to do is push this wheelchair. Look at it like that it really gets me upset that I have to spend the rest of my life. Chair Maybe I should be because I've seen people here who died for me. Why so public affairs this is what happens when. And Lisa Rosenthal.
Kent State University Rally in Kent, Ohio [During Tent City, 1977]
Producing Organization
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WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
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Program Description
This program, produced in 1977, features the rally and the tent city organized that May to protest the building of the Memorial Gym Annex on the campus of Kent State University. The proposed construction site was adjacent to the area where the Kent State Shootings had occurred in 1970. The following people attended the rally: Judy Collins (b. May 1, 1939) a folk singer, song writer, social activist; Julian Bond (b. January 14, 1940) an African American social activist, civil rights leader, politician, professor and writer; and Daniel Ellsberg (b. April 7, 1931) a political activist. Even after the tent city ended in July, there were several attempts to block construction through additional rallies and legal challenges. There was an appeal to the United States Congress and the Department of the Interior to have the area declared a National Historic Landmark. All of the attempts were unsuccessful and construction began on September 19, 1977. The Kent State Shootings occurred on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970. In the days leading up to the shootings, there were several protests against the expansion of the Vietnam War, President Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia and the reinstitution of the draft lottery. These protests resulted in violence and property damage both on campus and in the city of Kent. The mayor declared a state of emergency, ordered a curfew and asked the Governor to send the Ohio National Guard. On May 4th, a group of unarmed students held another protest on the Kent State campus. The Ohio National Guard fired into the group of protesters killing four students and wounding nine others. The national response to the shootings resulted in a student strike causing more than 450 campuses to close and other community protests that further divided the country along political lines.
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Demonstrations; Vietnam War
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Producer: Wallace, Jo Anne
Producing Organization: WYSO
Wardrobe: WYSO FM 91.3 Public Radio
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WYSO-FM (WYSO Public Radio)
Identifier: WYSO_PA_662 (WYSO FM 91.3 Public Radio; CONTENTdm Version 5.1.0;
Format: Audio/wav
WYSO-FM (WYSO Public Radio)
Identifier: PA 662 (WYSO)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:49:55
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Chicago: “Kent State University Rally in Kent, Ohio [During Tent City, 1977],” WYSO, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “Kent State University Rally in Kent, Ohio [During Tent City, 1977].” WYSO, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Kent State University Rally in Kent, Ohio [During Tent City, 1977]. Boston, MA: WYSO, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from