It’s the 52nd anniversary of the killings at Kent State University. In a special encore episode, we’re reposting our Kent State episode from 2020.
Listen in: https://apple.co/3kCCxER
In this episode, we commemorate the anniversary of the tragic events of May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University, where agents of the state murdered 4 students and shot 9 others. Students, who’d been told the war was winding down in Vietnam, erupted in protest at campuses all over America when Richard Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia on April 30th.
At Kent State, a working-class public school in Northeast Ohio, protesting students and other burned down an ROTC building, a common target in the Vietnam protest era, and Ohio Governor James Rhodes, vowing a violent response, mobilized the National Guard and sent them to Kent. For two days the students and Guard skirmished, with the paramilitaries hurling tear gas and intimidating students.
On May 4th, the Guard, unprovoked, started shooting into the crowd of students and shot 13, killing 4, from distances beyond 300 feet. These were extrajudicial killings and a sure sign the state would murder anyone who challenged its interests. The war had come home!
Scott and Bob, who’s also a historian of the Vietnam War and the 1960s and has published extensively on those subjects, talk about the background to the protests, the official, violent response, the aftermath at places like Jackson State, where 2 more students were killed, and the larger context of anti-state protests and their meaning, and lessons.
Kent State Tribunal Organization, established by Laurel Krause, sister of one of the students assassinated that day (https://bit.ly/3w2spdR);
interview with Alan Canfora, one of the survivors of the shootings (https://bit.ly/3OUyjGq);
The Kent State May 4th Poetry Collection; Denise Levertov, “The Day the Audience Walked Out on Me, and Why” (https://bit.ly/3kIVyFv);
Governor Rhodes press conference, May 3 (https://bit.ly/37cIk0R);
Robert Buzzanco, Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life (https://bit.ly/3kB21ST).
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This is a Green and Red Podcast (@PodcastGreenRed) production. Produced by Bob (@bobbuzzanco) and Scott (@sparki1969). “Green and Red Blues” by Moody. Editing by Scott.