Connecting the Past to the Present in Hopes of Creating a More Peaceful Future
Survivors remember as if it happened yesterday – the sounds, the confusion, the fear as protests and unrest escalated to a deadly level on campus. As dozens of students gathered outside on university grounds to make their voices heard, officers fired their weapons. In the end, students were wounded, others lost their lives and officers were exonerated.
The scenario may sound similar to the events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, but this incident happened two years prior. It is known as the Orangeburg Massacre on the campus of South Carolina State University on Feb. 8, 1968. That night, 100 students from around town gathered on campus to stand up for their civil rights. After someone threw an object injuring a state highway patrolman, officers opened fire into a crowd of unarmed students killing three and injuring 28. None of the nine patrolmen were charged.
Few remember these events — even fewer know the names of the students killed: Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton and Henry Smith. To honor their memory and to connect the past to the present, the May 4 Task Force is welcoming William C. Hine, Ph.D., retired history professor from South Carolina State, as the keynote speaker for Kent State’s 48th annual commemoration of May 4, 1970.
In addition to experiencing the Orangeburg Massacre, Dr. Hine also was a postdoctoral history scholar at Kent State on May 4, 1970, when students Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen on the Kent Campus.
The annual commemoration, hosted by the May 4 Task Force, provides an opportunity for the university community to gather and remember those who were lost and injured during the tragedy and also reflect on what May 4 means today.
The May 4 Task Force, a student organization on campus, was founded in 1975. The group has since sponsored, organized and produced events for the annual commemoration. Since its inception, the May 4 Task Force has sought to support the families affected by the events by providing educational programming and raising awareness about the event and its impact.
A series of events has been organized by the May 4 Task Force. All of the events will be held on the university’s Kent Campus and are free and open to the public.
Various authors discuss books about May 4
Kent Student Center Kiva, 7 p.m.
Candlelight Vigil March
The Kent State Commons, 11 p.m.
Standing Vigil, midnight
48th Annual May 4 Commemoration, featuring keynote speaker William C. Hine, Ph.D.
The Kent State Commons, noon
For more information about Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center, visit www.kent.edu/may4.