Today in History: Students Protest at Kent State

| May 2, 2019

ROTC_BurnOn the evening of May 2nd, 1970, students at Kent State University set afire the Army Reserve Officer Training Corp building on campus in response to the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. One thousand persons surrounded the barracks, and by midnight the National Guard cleared the area, forcing student and other protestors into dormitories.

While the previous day saw unrest in the town of Kent, the following days were to become some of the most tragic ones in the history of higher education. As tension escalated and demonstrators reassembled in defiance of the ban on rallying, national guardsman used tear gas and began firing, killing four students and wounding another nine. President Nixon ordered Kent State University to close and normal campus activities did not resume until the summer. Universities around the nation protested the Kent State shootings. Just ten days later, two students were killed and twelve wounded at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Cases went to trial, but led to acquittal. The Justice Department determined as late as 2012 that they could not re-open the Kent State investigation, despite belief that the guards were ordered to fire.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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