What happened on May 4?
On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students and wounded nine others during Vietnam War protests near Taylor Hall on campus.
Who were the victims?
-Allison Krause, 19, was an honor student protesting on campus on May 4. She is known for saying, “Flowers are better than bullets,” a few days before the shootings. In 2010, her sister, Laurel, co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal to uncover, record and preserve witness testimonies and others involved on May 4.
-Jeff Miller, 20, was protesting on campus on May 4. He transferred from Michigan State several months earlier. John Filo’s iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning May 4 photo features a 14-year-old runaway, Mary Ann Vecchio, kneeling over Miller’s dead body.
-Sandra Scheuer, 20, was an honor speech therapy student and was not part of the protests; she was walking to class when she was shot.
-William Schroeder, 19, was a psychology student and not part of the protests; he was observing the protests from afar when he was shot.
Why were students protesting?
Some of the students were protesting President Richard Nixon’s April 30 expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Other students who were shot were walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
What happened after May 4?
In October 1970, a state Grand Jury exonerated the guardsmen of any wrongdoing. Several parents of slain and wounded students filed an appeal in U.S. District Court.
A federal Grand Jury began in December 1973, and eight National Guardsmen were tried in 1974—but the charges were dropped. The parents settled out of court in January 1979 for $675,000 and a “letter of regret” from Ohio officials.