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Kent State Commemorates May 4, 1970

Posted Apr. 27, 2011

As a way for individuals to remember the events of May 4, 1970, Kent State University will host a series of events and activities to reflect on the 41st anniversary of that historic day.

A Kent State University student and member of the May 4 Task Force rings the Victory Bell on the Commons during the 40th commemoration of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State.The May 4 Walking Tour documentary and the May 4 film for First-Year Experience course are new to this year’s commemoration. Individuals also will have the opportunity to experience the Symposium on Democracy and the May 4 Commemoration Ceremony, where they can pay their respects and remember the events of May 4, 1970, from noon to 2 p.m.

“In telling the May 4 story, we honor the loss of Kent State students Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder,” said Laura Davis, Kent State University professor of English and faculty coordinator for May 4 initiatives. “We also serve the present and the future by providing a place for reflection on the enduring meaning of May 4, 1970 — its place in history and its continuing relation to human experience.”

In addition to the Commemoration Ceremony, other event details are as follows:

May 4 Walking Tour Documentary

Beginning on April 29, visitors will have the chance to follow in the steps of history through the new May 4 Walking Tour Documentary: May 4, 1970: Someone to Tell the Story. The documentary will give individuals a look inside May 4, 1970, by presenting 500 archival photographs never before assembled together to illustrate the historical day. The documentary is narrated by notable civil rights leader Julian Bond, and the chapters of the documentary are focused around the seven May 4 Walking Tour trail markers.

A group of people read one of the panel markers along the May 4 Walking Tour on the campus of Kent State University.To view the film, visitors may go to the circulation desk inside the Kent State University Library entrance and then check out an iPod on which the documentary is loaded. Visitors are encouraged to bring along their own headphones to use with the iPod as they follow the outdoor walking tour.

Visitors also may access the soundtrack for the film with their own cell phones by calling 330-672-MAY4 (6294).

May 4 Visitors Center and Expert Guided Tours of May 4 Site

While experiencing the historic May 4 site, visitors may stop in to the future home of the May 4 Visitors Center in 101 Taylor Hall, adjacent to the May 4 Memorial. Visitors may view the design plans for the future Visitors Center, which will tell the May 4 story set against the political and cultural changes of the 1960s. The future exhibit will immerse visitors in the events of that historic day and show the deep and broad impact of the shootings. Reflecting on the meaning of May 4 for today, visitors to the future center will have opportunity to record their thoughts, which will then be displayed in the exhibit. External grant funding and donations are currently being sought for the construction of the permanent May 4 Visitors Center exhibit.

Expert guided tours of the May 4 site will be offered during the 2011 commemoration. Tours will originate at the May 4 Visitors Center located in room 101 of Taylor Hall. The schedule for the May 4 Visitors Center open hours and tours is:

  • Friday, April 29: Visitors Center open 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; expert guided tour from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30
  • Saturday, April 30, through Monday, May 1: Visitors Center open 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; expert guided tour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 3: Visitors Center open 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; expert guided tour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The Visitors Center also will be open 9 p.m. to midnight.
  • Wednesday, May 4: Visitors Center open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

May 4 Task Force Schedule of Events

Tuesday, May 3

  • 7 p.m. – Kent Student Center Kiva – Forensic sound expert Stuart Allen will provide detailed analysis of an audio tape made by Terry Strubbe of the events and subsequent shooting on May 4, 1970
  • 10 p.m. – Gather at the Victory Bell for the annual Silent Vigil March (will occur rain or shine)

Wednesday, May 4
NEW LOCATION: Commemoration Ceremony in the Kent Student Center Ballroom:

  • 12:05 p.m. Jackson State chronology
  • 12:10 p.m. Kent State University chronology
  • 12:24-12:26 p.m. Victory Bell rung
  • Sandra Scheuer tribute by Erin McKay
  • Bill Schroeder tribute by Jim Mueller
  • Allison Krause tribute by Jennifer Schwartz-Wright
  • Jeffrey Miller tribute by William Whitaker
  • 12:45 p.m. Sarah Scheuer tribute by Kendra Lee Hicks-Pacifico
  • 12:50 p.m. Gene Young tribute by Idris Kabir Syed
  • 12:55 p.m. Carlos Jones performs a song
  • 1 p.m. Stuart Allen
  • 1:15 p.m. Mary Vecchio
  • 1:20 p.m. Randy Gardner
  • 1:30 p.m. Jeff Denton
  • 1:40 p.m. Chic Canfora
  • 1:50 p.m. Carlos Jones performs
  • 2 p.m. Conclusion of program

Symposium on Democracy: Democracy and Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

From April 27-29 in Oscar Ritchie Hall, the Department of History, the Department of Pan-African Studies and the Women’s Studies Program sponsor the Symposium on Democracy: Democracy and Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 12th annual conference brings national and international experts to Kent State to examine the critical issues of war-related sexual violence, the representation of women, extractive industries and existing and potential democratic grassroots efforts in the conflict zones.

This conference provides individuals with the opportunity to learn about the most lethal conflict since World War II and also understand the ways in which our own demands for high-tech gadgets have helped to prolong the conflict.

May 4 First-Year Experience Film: Fire in the Heartland

During last year’s Commemoration events, the executive board of Black United Students attended a film viewing of Fire in the Heartland. The film was created by Daniel Miller, a Kent State student who was present and highly involved in the events surrounding May 4, 1970.

Due to the impact of the film, the student organization’s executive board members decided the film would be a powerful way to illustrate the events of May 4, 1970, to students during Kent State’s First-Year Experience Course for freshmen. After several months of meetings and collaboration, Fire in the Heartland became the new May 4, 1970, video for incoming freshmen to watch. Black United Students secretary Jamilia Bush said the film contains a better connection to today’s students.

“The film showed more of a student's perspective and how it correlates to being students now,” Bush said. “The film is also longer and, therefore, gives more detail compared to the 50-minute film, The Day the War Came Home (previous film).”

For more information about May 4, www.kent.edu/may4. For more information regarding this year’s May 4 Commemoration events, visit www.kent.edu/about/history/may4/newsroom and www.m4tf.org.

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Media Contacts:
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595
Bob Burford, rburford@kent.edu, 330-672-8516