Kent State Commemorates May 4, Dedicates May 4 Visitors Center
Kent State University held its 43rd annual commemoration of May 4, 1970, with events taking place May 2-5, 2013. The annual commemoration provides an avenue for the university community to come together to remember those lost and injured during the tragedy and also to reflect on the meaning of May 4 for today.
Screening of May 4th Voices
A preview of the video production May 4th Voices was held May 2 at the Kent Stage in downtown Kent. The production premiered on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.1) on May 3.
May 4th Voices is a play that was written by David Hassler, director of Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center, as part of an Ohio Humanities Council grant from 2009-2010.
“The play stemmed from the ‘Kent State Shootings Oral History Project,’” Hassler said. “There are more than 115 interviews with guardsmen, students, townspeople and politicians that document personal narratives and reactions of May 4 and its aftermath. The voices in the play were woven together anonymously to tell the human story and emotional truth of the tragic events.”
Speakers’ Program, Candlelight March/Vigil and Commemoration
The May 4 Task Force program occurred May 3 in the Kent Student Center Kiva, opening with a screening of the film “Fire in the Heartland.” The May 4 Task Force Lecture Panel featured David Burstein, William Ayers and Tom Hayden, also in the Kent Student Center Kiva.
The annual candlelight march took place the evening of May 3, starting from the Kent State Commons. The march loops the campus and pays tribute to those wounded and lost on May 4, 1970. A vigil followed the march until 12:24 p.m. on May 4, with people standing at the spots where the four students — Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder — fell.
The annual commemoration program, also hosted by the May 4 Task Force, occurred May 4 from noon-2 p.m. on the Commons.
Dedication of the May 4 Visitors Center
The commemoration continued with the dedication of the May 4 Visitors Center on May 4, featuring film director and producer Oliver Stone and PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill. Ifill, moderator and managing editor of PBS’ Washington Week and co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, moderated a panel discussion on the “Historical Significance of May 4 and the Visitors Center” in the University Auditorium at Cartwright Hall.
Following the panel discussion, Stone, an Oscar-winning director, producer and screen writer, shared his thoughts on “History and Memory in Film,” based on his films that depict ’60s-era events. Both events with Ifill and Stone were free and open to the public, with seats available on a first-come basis. A reception followed Stone’s presentation in the atrium of Cartwright Hall.
Meet the Designers of the May 4 Visitors Center
Attendees also had the opportunity to “Meet the Designers of the May 4 Visitors Center” on May 5. Cybelle Jones, principal and studio director, and Carl Rhodes, associate and senior exhibit designer, both of Gallagher & Associates, discussed their work on the center. They talked about how the design helps realize the center’s vision and mission.
For more information about May 4 and Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center, visit www.kent.edu/may4.
For information about the May 4 Task Force and this year’s May 4 Commemoration events, visit www.m4tf.org.