A letter written by Allison Krause to an acquaintance asking if students in the Honors College at Kent State University have a reputation of being "no fun" "egg heads." Allison was one of the 4 students killed on May 4, 1970. This letter is read by Kent State University student, Megan Gottsacker.
School and university students in more than 100 countries have gone on strike to demand that politicians take urgent action on climate change. The coordinated protests were organised on social media under the Fridays for Future banner and inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who is in her 30th week of striking on Fridays.
An overview of the Jackson State shootings on May 15, 1970. Read the story by Jack Thornell/AP below.
A group of angry students. A burst of gunfire from authorities. Young lives cut short.
It sounds a lot like the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, but it happened 10 days later at a predominantly black college in the South.
Police fired for about 30 seconds on a group of students at Jackson State in Mississippi, killing two and wounding 12 others.
The tragedy was the culmination of increasing friction among students, local youths and law enforcement. On the evening of May 14, African-American youths were reportedly pelting rocks at white motorists driving down the main road through campus—frequently the site of confrontations between white and black Jackson residents.
Tensions rose higher when a rumor spread around campus that Charles Evers—a local politician, civil rights leader and the brother of slain activist Medgar Evers—and his wife had been killed, according to Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College. The situation escalated when a non-Jackson State student set a dump truck on fire.
Police responded to the call. A group of students and non-students threw rocks and bricks at the officers. Police advanced to Alexander Hall, a large dorm for women.
According to a 1970 report from the President's Commission on Campus Unrest, police fired more than 150 rounds. And an FBI investigation revealed that about 400 bullets or pieces of buckshot had been fired into Alexander Hall. The shooters claimed that there was a sniper in the dorm, but investigators found “insufficient evidence” of that claim.
The two young men who were gunned down in the melee were Phillip L. Gibbs, a junior at Jackson State and the father of an 18-month-old; and James Earl Green, a high school senior.
Jackson State Today
The event continues to leave a mark on the university. Even today, passers-by can see the bullet holes in the women's dorm. A plaza on campus commemorates the victims of the shooting.
All Jackson State students learn about the shooting in a mandatory orientation class, and professors evoke the event as a teaching tool.
C. Liegh McInnis, who teaches creative writing and world literature at Jackson State, says the story of the shooting is integrated into the curriculum of several liberal arts departments.
In McInnis’ own freshman composition class, students are required to see the bullet holes in the women's dorm themselves while researching a critical analysis paper about the shooting.
On Thursday, Jackson State held a 40th anniversary memorial to pay tribute to the victims of the shooting. The event brought back 24 alumni who attended Jackson State in 1970, some of whom had been injured that night.
“The tragedy showed the resolve of the students,” McInnis said.
McInnis said all of the alumni—who had traveled from places like Houston and Detroit—ended up being leaders in their fields and their communities.
David Crosby was interviewed by Kent State media designers about what happened at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
Woman on the street in Kent, OH talking about the shootings at Kent State University.
Students have taken part in demonstrations a month to the day after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida.
Storybooth project for Parkland shooting.
Graham Nash interview for the May 4 Visitors Center talking about the May 4 shooting.
In the liner notes of his 1977 anthology, Decade, Young wrote: “It's still hard to believe I had to write this song.”
The poem was originally published in Pravda, and an English translation by Anthony Kahn is included. Read the full poem below.
“Flowers & Bullets”
Of course: Bullets don’t like people
who love flowers.
They’re jealous ladies, bullets,
short on kindness.
Allison Krause, nineteen years old,
for loving flowers.
When, then and open as the pulse of conscience,
you put a flower in a rifle’s mouth,
“Flowers are better than bullets,”
was pure hope speaking.
Give no flowers to a state
that outlaws truth;
such states reciprocate
with cynical, cruel gifts,
and your gift, Allison Krause,
was the bullet
that blasted the flower.
Let every apple orchard blossom black
black in mourning.
Ah, how the lilac smells!
You’re without feeling.
Nothing. The President said it:
“You’re a bum.”
All the dead are bums.
It’s not their crime.
You lie in the grass,
A melting candy in your mouth,
done with dressing in new clothes,
done with books.
You used to be a student.
You studied fine arts.
But other arts exist,
of blood and terror,
and headsmen with a genius for the axe.
Who was Hitler?
A cubist of gas chambers.
In the name of all flowers,
I curse your works,
you architects of lies,
maestros of murder!
Mothers of the world whisper
‘O God, God’
and seers are afraid
to look ahead.
Death dances rock-and-roll upon the bones
of Vietnam, Cambodia —
On what stage is it booked to dance tomorrow?
Rise up, Tokyo girls,
take up your flowers
against the common foe.
Blow the world’s dandelions up
into a blizzard!
Flowers, to war!
Punish the punishers!
Tulip after tulip,
carnation after carnation,
rip out of your tidy beds in anger,
choke every lying throat
with earth and root!
You, jasmine, clog
the spinning blades of mine-layers!
block the cross-hair sights,
drive your sting into the lenses,
Rise up, lily of the Ganges,
lotus of the Nile,
stop the roaring props
of planes pregnant
with the death of children!
Roses, don’t be proud
to find yourselves sold
at higher prices.
Nice as it is to touch a tender cheek,
thrust a sharper thorn a little deeper
into the fuel tanks of bombers.
Bullets are stronger than flowers.
Flowers aren’t strong enough to overwhelm them.
Stems are too fragile,
petals are poor armor.
But a Vietnam girl of Allison’s age,
taking a gun in her hands,
is the armed flower
of the people’s wrath!
If even flowers rise,
then we’ve had enough
of playing games with history.
tie up the killer’s hands.
Let there be an escalation of truth
to overwhelm the escalating lie
crushing people’s lives!
Flowers, make war!
Defend what’s beautiful!
Drown the city streets and country roads
like the flood of an army advancing
and in the ranks of people and flowers
arise, murdered Allison Krause,
Immortal of the age,
Thorn-Flower of protest!
A letter written by Bill Schroeder to his mother in October 1969. He tells her about his life at Kent State—his courses, grades, work, and that he will try to visit her at home during the weekend. Bill Schroeder was one of the four students who were killed on May 4, 1970. This letter is read by Kent State University student, Benjamin Zahorec.