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Kent State Commemorates May 4, 1970

Posted May. 2, 2011
May 4 Walking Tour
A group reads one of the panel markers along the
May 4 Walking Tour on the campus of Kent State University.

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

The May 4 Walking Tour documentary and the May 4 film for First-Year Experience courses are new to this year's commemoration. Individuals also will have the opportunity to visit the future home of the May 4 Visitors Center, tour the historic site with an expert guide and experience 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," says 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.

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 and Memorial

While experiencing the historic May 4 site, visitors may stop in to the future home of the May 4 Visitors Center in Room 101 of Taylor Hall, adjacent to the May 4, 1970, Site and 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 and Memorial will be offered during the 2011 commemoration. Tours will originate at the May 4 Visitors Center. The schedule for the May 4 Visitors Center open hours and tours is:
  • Friday, April 29: Visitors Center open 3 to 5 p.m.; expert guided tour from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 30, through Monday, May 1: Visitors Center open noon to 3 p.m.; expert guided tour from 1 to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 3: Visitors Center open noon to 3 p.m.; expert guided tour from 1 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 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 says. "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.