Remembering May 4, 1970

The Kent Stater

On May 4, 1970, Kent State was thrust into the international spotlight after a sad end to a student demonstration against the Vietnam War. Shortly after noon that Monday, 13 seconds of gunfire by a group of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen left four students dead, one permanently paralyzed and eight others wounded.

In January 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior named the site of May 4 at Taylor Hall as a National Historic Landmark.

“It’s exciting to see that this history is being recognized and its significance is being recognized,” Laura Davis, founder of the May 4 Visitors Center, said. “Telling the story of May 4 is something that we should be doing. It’s our job to tell this story of what happened here. Even though decades have gone by since the shootings, it’s a story that continues to have meaning to people today.”

Those on campus can visit the May 4 Visitors Center in Taylor Hall to learn about the events that unfolded in 1970. Inside the center, patrons can listen to audio and video recordings, including stories by those present that day.

The center also has a multimedia self-guided tour of the 18-acre historic site featuring permanent location markers, educational programs for student and public groups, special lectures and activities. 

Every year, Kent State and community members gather at 10:30 p.m. at the bell outside of Taylor Hall on May 3 for a candlelit vigil and walk across campus. On May 4, classes are canceled from 12 to 2 p.m. so students, along with employees of the university, can attend commemoration at the hill outside of Taylor.

Contact Lydia at [email protected].