Kent State Stark to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of May 4, 1970

The upcoming 50th May 4 commemoration in 2020 provides an opportunity for all to remember and honor the tragic events of May 4, 1970, that occurred on the Kent State University campus.

This year’s anniversary represents a significant and historic milestone, not only for the university, but for Stark County.

This semester, Kent State University at Stark will commemorate this important event in American history with a look at the events leading up to May 4, 1970 – and beyond. Here’s a look at the free, public events to be held at Kent State Stark, 6000 Frank Ave. NW:

Jackson State, Kent State, and the Civil Rights Movement
Wednesday, Jan. 22
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Science and Nursing Building – Room 101

This program discusses how the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, and Jackson State College in Mississippi, where students from both institutions were shot and killed, fit within the larger societal issues of race and violence against protestors at that time. This event also explores the establishment of Black United Students at Kent State University and their ongoing legacy of activism. This event will include a viewing of part of “Fire in the Heartland” and an open panel presentation and discussion about these connections. Presented by Dr. Robert Hamilton, IV; Dr. Amoaba Gooden; Dr. Leslie Heaphy; Professor Idris Syed; and Dr. Chris Post.

Placing May 4, 1970, in Historical Context

Wednesday, Feb. 19
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Main Hall – Auditorium

This Stark Campus presentation will detail the events leading up to and surrounding May 4, 1970, as well as reactions and responses. Time will also be spent talking about its importance and relevancy today. Presented by Dr. Leslie Heaphy, associate professor of history.

Theatre Auditions for “May 4th Voices”

Tuesday, Feb. 25, and Wednesday, Feb. 26
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Building – Studio Theatre

The Kent State University at Stark Theatre will hold open auditions for “May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970” by David Hassler. Auditions are open to everyone, including students and members of the community. Kent State Stark encourages diversity in casting. Those auditioning may perform a prepared monologue, or work from selected scene excerpts (sides) chosen by the director at the auditions. Visit for more information.

How We Remember May 4, 1970 - EVENT CANCELED

Wednesday, March 11
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Science and Nursing Building – Room 101

This Stark Campus presentation, “How We Remember May 4th: A Geographic Approach to Looking Back and Moving Forward,” will assess the commemorative history regarding the events surrounding May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, from a geographic perspective. Dr. Chris Post, a cultural and historical geographer, will present on geographic thought and analysis, which includes seeking an understanding of memorial landscapes and how they came to be, particularly by assessing where they are located, who controls their production and when/how they are produced. Presented by Dr. Chris Post, associate professor of geography.

“May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970”

Fridays and Saturdays, April 17-18; April 24-25
7:30 p.m.
Sundays, April 19 and 26
2 p.m.
Fine Arts Building – The Mary J. Timken Theatre

“May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970” by David Hassler brings together first-person narratives about the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University. First performed in 2010 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the shootings, the “May 4th Voices” play is composed of verbatim excerpts from the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project. Weaving these voices and stories together, Hassler’s play tells the human story of May 4, 1970, and its aftermath while capturing the tragedy, which had a profound impact on the nation and is credited as a catalyst in changing Americans’ view toward U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Tickets available April 6. Visit

May 4 Civic Commons Panel

Thursday, April 23, 2020
7 - 9 p.m.
101 Science & Nursing

This panel discussion of May 4, 1970, at Kent State will feature those who were present. The panel will discuss the protests, shootings, their causes and impacts on society, including the 50 year commemorative history of May 4. Tickets not required.

13th Annual Student Conference

Friday, April 24, 2020
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Science & Nursing

Each year, the Kent State Stark Honors Program sponsors the Student Conference to showcase the academic talents of Kent State students. This year, there will be a line of sessions dedicated to May 4, 1970, and its causes and impacts on society.

For more information on Kent State University systemwide events, visit
For more information on Kent State Stark events, visit

POSTED: Friday, January 17, 2020 09:03 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 10:07 AM
Melissa Seeton