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Remembering the Kent State Shootings in the Trump Era

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: James Tyner, Joshua Inwood
Chairs: James Tyner


May 4, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kent State Shootings. Five decades ago, on Thursday, April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon announced before a live television audience his controversial decision to attack enemy bases in neutral Cambodia. “We take this action,” Nixon explained, “not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam and winning the just peace we all desire.” For many antiwar activists in the United States, Nixon’s explanation rang hollow. In their mind, Nixon’s announcement seemed more like an expansion of the war rather than a pathway to peace. Throughout the weekend, protests of the “Cambodia Incursion” – the preferred euphemism coined by the Nixon Administration for what was by definition an invasion – erupted on at least 132 college campuses. At Kent State University, shortly after noon on Monday, May 4, 13 seconds of rifle fire by a contingent of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen left four students dead, one permanently paralyzed, and eight others wounded. The shootings solidified the national divide over America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Participants on this panel reflect upon the legacy of the Kent State Shootings--and the subsequent Jackson State Shootings--notably around questions of militarism, democracy, and social justice, in the era of Trump.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist James Tyner Kent State University 15
Panelist Sara Koopman Kent State University 15
Panelist Audrey Kobayashi Queen's University 15
Panelist Joshua Inwood Pennsylvania State University 15

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