Kent State University to Honor 50th Commemoration of May 4, 1970, With Online Commemoration

Students wounded in 1970, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jesse Colin Young, Jerry Casale, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and others participating in a variety of online events marking the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State on May 4, 1970

In keeping with the commitment to honor and remember the events of May 4, 1970, Kent State University will have an online “virtual” program to mark the 50th Commemoration with a variety of online videos, exhibits and learning resources. On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State students during an anti-war protest, killing four students and wounding nine other students. The online commemoration culminates the yearlong observance of the 50th anniversary of the shootings that included more than 100 programs and educational activities, which took place universitywide and around the country between July 31, 2019, and May 1, 2020.

A variety of special content will be available on the May 4 50th Commemoration website beginning Friday, May 1. The centerpiece of the online commemoration will be a special video tribute to be aired at noon on Monday, May 4, featuring footage from past commemorations as well as newly recorded messages from several of the students wounded in 1970 who reflect on that day and their lives since the shootings. In addition, several prominent national musicians whose careers and music were affected by the events of May 4, 1970, have contributed new messages for the commemoration video and for the 50th website, including David Crosby and Graham Nash, both from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Kent State alumnus Jerry Casale from Devo; and Jesse Colin Young from the Youngbloods.

Well-known actress Tina Fey and her husband, Kent State alumnus Jeff Richmond, are lending their voices and talents to a newly recorded version of “May 4th Voices,” the play by David Hassler, Kent State’s director of the Wick Poetry Center. This new version of the play will be broadcast on several public radio stations and also will be available for streaming directly from the May 4 50th Commemoration website. Other prominent actors and actresses participating in the play include Ron West, Marc Jaffe, Joe Gunderman, Natalie Knepp and Matthew Solomon. More information, including a listing of radio stations broadcasting the production, is available on the May 4 50th Commemoration website.

In March, Kent State canceled its weekend full of programs marking the 50th commemoration of the May 4, 1970, shootings following the Ohio Department of Health’s guidelines for reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The historic May 4 50th Commemoration Weekend was to include numerous educational events, a benefit concert and panel discussions, as well as the traditional candlelight march and vigil.

“It is impossible to replace the very moving and solemn experience of the physical May 4 Commemoration with something that occurs online,” stated Kent State President Todd Diacon. “However, we knew it was important to remember and honor the events of May 4, 1970, even in the midst of all that was happening in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain committed to the ongoing legacy of May 4, 1970, and look forward to future commemorations and educational initiatives surrounding this important moment in history.”

Visitors to the online May 4th Commemoration can also watch a variety of videos, including past speakers, interviews with May 4 survivors, tours of the May 4 Visitors Center and the National Historic Landmark site, and more. Links to special exhibits on the May 4 Task Force, Jackson State University, the campus strike of 1970 and others will be available for viewing online. Two new online projects, the May 4 Augmented Reality Tour and the Mapping May 4 project, will also debut during the online commemoration.

Perhaps one of the most meaningful traditions of the annual May 4 commemorations is the very moving candlelight march and vigil that takes place starting at 11 p.m. on the evening of May 3 and continuing to noon on May 4. Since the actual march and vigil are unable to be held this year, Kent State is asking everyone to participate in a virtual candlelight vigil. Information on how people may participate can be found on the May 4 50th Commemoration website.

As part of the 50th Commemoration, Kent State established the May 4 Legacy Scholarships fund. The scholarships are named after each of the four students who perished on May 4, 1970, and will be awarded to students in Kent State’s renowned Peace and Conflict Studies program. To date, $180,000 has been raised for these scholarships. Individuals wishing to make a donation to the new scholarships can donate online through the May 4 50th Commemoration website at www.kent.edu/may4kentstate50.

“The annual May 4 Commemorations are a time for many people to come together and share their memories and feelings about the events of May 4, 1970,” said Rod Flauhaus, project manager for the May 4 50th Commemoration. “That day left an indelible mark on the lives of many people around the world. Even though we are physically not able to come together on the day of the 50th anniversary, we wanted to give people a way to come together online and still share in the experience. While our original plans for the 50th Commemoration have changed, the important thing is that we still remember and honor the lives of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder and the events of that tragic day in 1970.”

For more information or to view Kent State’s online 50th Commemoration of May 4, please visit the official website at www.kent.edu/may4kentstate50.

# # #

PHOTO CAPTION:
Pictured are the four Kent State University students who were killed on May 4, 1970. From left to right are Allison Krause, William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer and Jeffrey Miller.

CONTACTS:
May 4 50th Commemoration:

Rod Flauhaus, rflauha1@kent.edu, 330-672-2423

Media Inquiries:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797

POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 2:42pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 2:56pm
WRITTEN BY:
Rod Flauhaus