Kent State Remembers May 4, 1970, With 53rd Commemoration
Advancing the legacy of May 4, 1970, a tragic day when the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State University students during an anti-war protest on campus, killing four students, wounding nine students and forever changing the lives of countless others, the university will hold its annual commemoration on May 3-4.
“The Power of Our Voices” theme will continue to inspire this year’s May 4 Commemoration events and programming that will focus on tying May 4 and the anti-war movement of 1970 to emerging movements today. The annual commemoration allows members of the Kent State community and the public to gather in remembrance of May 4, 1970, share memories, reconnect with old friends and pass on lessons learned from the tragedy to new generations of students so they inquire, learn and reflect upon the history that occurred on their campus.
“In returning to in-person commemorations last year, we saw a significant increase in the number of students participating in the Candlelight Vigil and in commemoration events,” said Roseann “Chic” Canfora, Ph.D., an eyewitness and survivor of May 4, 1970. “Our goal this year is to celebrate a new era of collaboration around May 4 remembrance, one that embraces the opportunity to elevate the voices of today’s students and make May 4 meaningful to student activists now and in the future.”
Canfora serves as Professional-in-Residence in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism and works collaboratively with the Office of the President and the May 4 Presidential Advisory Committee in planning the university’s May 4 Commemoration as chair of the May 4 Commemoration Committee.
This year’s commemoration events include:
Wednesday, May 3
At 11:30 a.m., Kent State will hold the Jerry M. Lewis May 4 Lecture Series. Now in its second year, the lecture and luncheon will take place in the Kent Student Center Ballroom and feature Erica Eckert, Ph.D., assistant dean for assessment and accreditation and assistant professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, who will present “Where Were the Administrators? A Student Affairs Perspective on May 4, 1970.” This ticketed event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available for download on April 1.
At 6 p.m., a special screening of the film “Young Plato” will take place, followed by a panel discussion with Neasa Ní Chianáin, director; David Rane, producer; and Kevin McArevey, headmaster. According to the film’s website, “‘Young Plato’ charts the dream of Elvis-loving school headmaster Kevin McArevey – a maverick who is determined to change the fortunes of an inner-city community plagued by urban decay, sectarian aggression, poverty and drugs. The all-boys primary school in post-conflict Belfast, Northern Ireland, becomes a hot house for thinking and questioning, as the headmaster encourages the children to see beyond the boundaries and limitations of their community, and sends his young wards home each day armed with the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosophers. The boys challenge their school-friends, parents and neighbors to find alternatives to violence and prejudice, and to challenge the mythologies of war.” This ticketed event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available for download on April 1.
The annual Candlelight Walk and Vigil will begin at 11 p.m. This cornerstone of the commemoration began in 1971. There will be food before the Candlelight Walk on the Commons and in the Prentice Hall parking lot, and there will be an online signup for the Candlelight Vigil.
Thursday, May 4
The campus community and visitors will gather at noon on the May 4 site at the Kent State Commons (rain location: tent on Manchester Field) to commemorate the moment that gunfire erupted 53 years ago. The commemoration will include a performance by the Kent Chorale, featured remarks from university students and administrators, the ringing of the Victory Bell and a moment of silence at 12:24 p.m.
The commemoration remembers those killed – Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder – and those wounded – Alan Canfora, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Donald Mackenzie, James Russell, Robert Stamps and Douglas Wrentmore – on May 4, 1970. The university will also acknowledge key May 4 contributors who have died this past year.
Music on the Commons will precede the commemoration at 11 a.m. and then follow at the end of the event.
Kent State University student organizations will host a variety of May 4-related programs. Details are forthcoming and will be listed on the May 4 Events Calendar.
Additional Commemoration Information
For the latest information about the commemoration and a complete list of events to honor and remember May 4, 1970, visit www.kent.edu/may4.
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May 4 Commemoration:
Kent State University community members and visitors gather on the Kent State Commons for the annual May 4 Commemoration to honor those who were killed and wounded on May 4, 1970.
Annual Candlelight Walk and Vigil:
Members of the Kent State University community participate in the annual Candlelight Walk and Vigil.