May 4 still remembered year-round at Kent State

Melissa Dilley

Most students first learn about the May 4 shootings at Kent State in high school history class. While it’s a large part of the university’s past and present, many students stop learning about it after watching “Kent State: The Day The War Came Home,” in First Year Experience classes.

For those who want to learn more about May 4, 1970, there are year-round learning opportunities.

Department of Special Collections and Archives: Located on the 12th floor of the library, it specializes in gathering artifacts and information about Kent State and its history, including May 4. Students and faculty can make an appointment or stop by the archives between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays to look through photos, newspaper clippings and letters. Some of the archives are available online at Click on the link under the research tab.

May 4 special topics class: Offered each spring, the class is taught by professors Laura Davis and Carole Barbato, who were students at Kent State in 1970.

May 4 commemoration: At midnight on May 4 each year, the May 4 Task Force holds a candlelight march, which leads to the Prentice Hall parking lot near where the four students were killed; a vigil lasts until ceremonies begin later in the day. Bands entertain and speakers educate students on the Commons near the Victory Bell. All classes are canceled during the ceremony to encourage students to take the time to remember and reflect on the events. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the May 4 shootings.

May 4 Resource Room: Located on the first floor of the library, it houses art and books inspired by the events of May 4. It’s also the meeting place of the May 4 Task Force, which plans yearly commemoration services and works to keep the memory of the May 4 events alive on campus.

May 4 memorial: Located on top of Blanket Hill, a granite memorial to the four slain students offers visitors a spot to remember and learn. At its entrance between Prentice Hall and Taylor Hall, the words “Inquire, Learn, Reflect” are engraved into the stone. The memorial is surrounded by 58,175 daffodil bulbs, which symbolize the number of American casualties in Vietnam. Pamphlets about the history of the event are available nearby.

May 4 Visitors Center: The center will be constructed in Taylor Hall facing the May 4 memorial. It will house art, photos and personal stories. The center, which is funded through donations, is expected to be complete in 2011, but many are hoping for a 2010 opening to commemorate the 40th anniversary.

Contact news editor Melissa Dilley at [email protected].