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Kent State Shootings. Background: Kent State. Public University Established in 1910 Located in Kent Ohio One of the larger Universities in Ohio. Background: Protests. Background: Protests. In 1968, President Nixon promised the nation that he would begin winding down the Vietnam War

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background kent state
Background: Kent State
  • Public University
  • Established in 1910
  • Located in Kent Ohio
  • One of the larger Universities in Ohio
background protests1
Background: Protests
  • In 1968, President Nixon promised the nation that he would begin winding down the Vietnam War
  • “Peace with honor”
background protests2
Background: Protests
  • Initially kept his word
  • But, in April it was announced on live television that the United States would be invading Cambodia
  • Caused public outcry across the nation
may 1 st friday
May 1st (Friday)
  • Students at Kent State held a peaceful anti-war protest
  • Planned another protest for Monday the 4th
  • Later that day students out at the local bars restarted the protest on the Kent city streets.
may 1 st friday1
May 1st (Friday)
  • In response, the mayor of Kent (LeRoySatrom) called in all available police to contain the demonstrators
  • Also closed the bars, causing more people to join the protests
  • As time went on the protest increasingly more violent; bonfires, blocked traffic, and throwing rocks and bottles
  • Police eventually used teargas to push the protesters back to the Campus
may 2 nd saturday
May 2nd (Saturday)
  • Kent Mayor meets with advisors and National Guard representatives
  • On Campus, the ROTC building was set on fire and burned to the ground
  • Decision was made to ask Governor Rhodes for National Guard assistance
  • Fearful of rumors that revolutionaries were in the crowds
may 3 rd sunday
May 3rd (Sunday)
  • By Sunday morning over 1000 Guardsmen were on the campus
  • Beautiful and warm day, students chatting with the Guardsmen
may 3 rd sunday1
May 3rd (Sunday)
  • Ohio Governor James Rhodes flew into Kent State to see the situation
  • Made several inflammatory statements
  • Called the protestors: “the worst kind of people in America”
  • Decision was made to ban Monday’s rally
may 4 th monday
May 4th (Monday)
  • University distributed leaflets informing students that the protest had been banned
  • Rally was held anyway, but now against the National Guard presence on the campus
  • University and National Guard leaders got on bullhorns and ordered students to disperse
may 4 th monday1
May 4th (Monday)
  • Guardsmen were ordered to lock and load their weapons
  • Began to march across the commons, intending to push the students back
  • Inadvertently got separated and trapped in a sea of students/protestors
may 4 th monday2
May 4th (Monday)
  • 28 Guardsmen suddenly opened fire
  • Most fired into the air, but some fired into the crowd
  • 4 students were killed, 9 wounded
reaction to the shooting
Reaction to the shooting
  • Nation was sent into an uproar
  • Kent State was closed for the semester
  • Hundreds of other colleges around the country were closed
  • Nixon (and many in the nation) blamed the protestors
  • Guardsmen claimed they were acting in self defense, later proven by the FBI to be false
  • A week later 100,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the invasion of Cambodia
  • When he heard of the tragedy Neil Young wrote the song “Ohio”