Kent State protests

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The Kent State protests of May 1970 took place on the campus of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. They began with violence and arson and ended in the deaths of four students.

During the demonstration on May 1, 1970, "a mix of bikers, students, and out-of town youths" assaulted police with beer bottles.

The governor called out the National Guard.

On May 2, the ROTC was found ablaze. Protesters surrounded the building, cut a fire hose and assaulted fire fighters with "rocks and other objects".[1]

On May 3, protesters defying a curfew by the mayor were dispersed by guardsmen using tear gas.

Four student deaths

On May 4, around 2,000 people gathered for a previously planned rally to protest the American bombing of Cambodia, despite the university's announcement of a ban or cancellation. When a police official ordered the crowd to disperse, his Jeep was "pelted with rocks" and one guardsman was injured. The two guard units advanced with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets and partly succeeded in dispersing the crowd.

Remaining students threw rocks and tear gas canisters at the guardsmen. There are conflicting reports about whether guardsmen were fired upon (see opening fire or returning fire).

Some guardsmen fired their rifles. Shots were fired into the air, into the ground, but also directly at people. A total of 67 shots were fired, hitting 13 people and killing 4 of them. The four casualties were Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, and William Schroeder.

The protest song "Ohio," written by Neil Young, was inspired by the Kent State shootings.


  1. Firemen left the scene after hoses were punctured and cut open, unable to extinguish the blaze. Kent State Library chronology