Kent State pays tribute to May 4 victims during first in-person events in two years

Alexandra Golden, Assigning Editor

For the first time since 2019, Kent State will honor the victims of May 4, 1970 for a week of planned events.


This commemoration will tribute the historical event when the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State students during an anti-war protest, wounding nine and killing four, according to an email from the university.


“What makes planning for the commemoration so special each year is not only collaborating with people whose connection to May 4 spans more than 50 years, but also working with students today who are as committed as we are to remembering Kent State and Jackson State,” said Roseann Canfora, an eyewitness and survivor of May 4, 1970, in an email.


Canfora, who is a professional-in-residence in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism, works with the Office of the President and the May 4 Presidential Advisory Committee to plan the commemoration and to develop future initiatives.


The scheduled events include:


  • On Sunday, May 1, a folk and film series will be shown to bring people to the university to learn about what happened more than 50 years ago.



The series was created to honor Lewis, a Kent State professor from 1966 until 2013. He was also a faculty marshal in 1970, and a first-hand May 4 shootings witness. The series will also help advance the scholarship of May 4, 1970, and it honors the Vietnam War era.


Other events include:


  • On Tuesday, May 3, the annual May 4 Candlelight Walk and Vigil will take place.


It’s “a tradition that will be preceded this year by the dedication of engraved plaques installed in 2021 on the May 4 site to permanently mark where the nine wounded students were located when hit by gunfire,” according to the email.


  • On Wednesday, May 4, visitors will gather on the May 4 site at 12:24 p.m. to commemorate the gunfire that happened 52 years ago.


The keynote speakers and other events will be announced soon.


Alexandra Golden is an assigning editor. Contact her at [email protected].