Kent State Installs Bronze Markers to Honor Nine Students and Identify Where They Were Wounded on May 4, 1970
During the 51st May 4 Commemoration, Kent State unveiled new bronze markers to honor the nine students who were wounded by gunfire on May 4, 1970, and to designate their location on the site during the tragic incident.
The markers, which are 11 inches in diameter and recessed in limestone bases, identify the locations where the nine students were wounded when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on May 4, 1970, during an anti-war demonstration. A video featuring the new markers premiered during the 51st Commemoration on May 4, 2021, that focused on the nine wounded students: Alan Canfora, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Donald Mackenzie, James Russell, Robert Stamps and Douglas Wrentmore.
“Today we unveil markers for students wounded on May 4, 1970,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said during the virtual dedication. “These markers represent the latest addition to the National Historic Landmark site and provide greater insight to the events that happened on May 4, 1970.”
The locations of the new markers on the May 4 site are in the grass or in the parking area level with the pavement, with the exception of the marker for James Russell, which is mounted on an exterior wall of the MACC Annex. Russell’s location during the shooting was inside of where the annex now sits.
The project was initiated by a team comprised of Alan Canfora; Michael Bruder, Kent State architect; Jerry Lewis, Kent State Professor Emeritus; and Rod Flauhaus, project manager for the 50th May 4 Commemoration. The team used photographs, court testimony transcripts, eyewitness accounts and other data to verify the location of the nine wounded students. Then, an independent group of May 4 scholars at Kent State reviewed the locations. Once the exact locations were confirmed, precise distances from the National Guard to each wounded student were determined by modern professional survey techniques, including laser technology and GPS. The survey found that the locations of the wounded students were accurate. But the distances between the students’ locations and the National Guard that were previously published by the FBI in the 1970s were inaccurate. The markers were purchased and delivered in 2020 in time for the 50th Commemoration of May 4, however, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the unveiling until 2021. There will be a dedication of the markers in 2022.
The unveiling of the markers was particularly meaningful because it was the last May 4 project for which Canfora was personally involved before his death on Dec. 20, 2020, at the age of 71.
“Alan was very involved with this project and provided much of the research confirming the exact locations where each of the nine wounded students fell,” said Roseann (Chic) Canfora, Alan Canfora’s sister, a Kent State alumna who witnessed the May 4 shootings. “His commitment to detail and historical accuracy about the May 4, 1970, shootings guided everyone’s efforts to ensure that the markers were not only in the correct location, but would provide additional insight and impact to the May 4 story allowing everyone to see firsthand the distances of each student from the guard.”
Two of the other wounded students passed away in recent years – Russell died in 2007 and Stamps died in 2008.
The markers for the nine wounded students join the four markers installed in 1999 in remembrance of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, the four students killed on May 4, 1970. Other physical markers on the May 4 site include the B’nai B’rith Hillel Marker, the May 4 Memorial, the Ohio Historical Marker, the May 4 Visitors Center, the May 4 Walking Tour, the National Register of Historic Places plaque and the National Historic Landmark plaque.
For more information about the May 4 51st Commemoration, visit www.kent.edu/may-4-1970/51st-commemoration.
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