50 Years: Still Seeking Kent State Truth
Facing the Kent State Massacre 50th
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970 killing of four and wounding of nine student protesters against the Vietnam War, let us share truth, learn what occurred at the historic Kent State University antiwar protest and massacre, and begin to acknowledge the related collective and personal wounds many still carry. For the 50th let us heal our Kent State wounds and claim our peace.
Fifty years ago — nine months after the birth of Woodstock and six months after the 1969 moratoriums when millions of young Americans marched against and protested the Vietnam War — the May 1970 campus massacres at Kent State and Jackson State traumatized a generation of American protesters against war. Every young person back then carries a Kent State recollection, remembering how it dramatically affected their lives and, to this day, their relationship with the US government.
Approaching the 50th, we hope millions of peaceful people around the world who opposed the Vietnam War, who felt it could have been them killed protesting war, will pause to remember where they were on May 4, 1970. Let us endeavor to protect protesters in America and reclaim the right to protest safely today.
The People’s History of Kent State
With US government support ever since May 4, 1970, Kent State University has steadfastly acted to control what is known about the Kent State massacre. For the 50th anniversary, US government efforts to obstruct truth at Kent State have gone into overdrive:
In March 2019, a KSU Board of Trustees action took over the Kent State 50th in an abrupt decommission of the May 4th Task Force, a KSU student-run organization and liaison to Kent State families of those who died, and survivors, established in 1975;
With more than $2 million earmarked for the Kent State 50th commemoration, KSU partnered with the US government, notably the CIA, to commandeer their year-long Kent State 50th program; and
KSU and the US government continue to stonewall demands for credible or legitimate Kent State investigations, and has refused to acknowledge the Kent State Truth Tribunal established in 2010.
At the May 4 Visitors Center established in 2013 on the Kent State University campus, the museum promotes the government view of the Kent State massacre. Whether to mislead or censor, the visitor center "forgets" to include key findings and developments from the last decade, such as:
The expert forensic findings emerging in Stuart Allen's 2010 discovery of the Kent State massacre Commands-to-Fire;
The mountains of evidence and unanswered questions about FBI Informant and Provocateur Terry Norman's activities on May 4, 1970 in the Kent State massacre; and
The four new Kent State “Tribute” exhibits promote an inaccurate, whitewashed government view of the four students and protesters who lost their lives on May 4, 1970 at Kent State.
In May 2019 following the 49th anniversary, those in charge of the 50th Kent State commemoration and narrative suffered a PR fiasco in the bungled appointment of 25-year CIA veteran, Stephanie Danes Smith, to Chair the May 4th advisory committees for the Kent State 50th.
In response to the CIA appointment, the Kent State Truth Tribunal led an email campaign asking participants to send protest emails to the president of Kent State University. The email campaign went viral, inundating the president's mailbox with comments against the CIA being put in charge of the 50th Kent State. Days later Danes Smith, the CIA veteran, stepped down from her appointment as Chair of Kent State 50th commemoration planning.
Regretfully, even though Danes Smith publicly stepped down as Chair, she is still there covertly managing matters and messaging for the Kent State 50th. Undaunted, Danes Smith utilizes her decades of CIA expertise in rewriting government policy and reports to produce the US government view of the Kent State massacre for the 50th.
Working in tandem with Danes Smith are a hand-selected Kent State University 50th team that includes a 20-year Ohio National Guard careerist, now the executive directing Kent State media and communications, with a recruited Nixon Presidential Library employee, now managing the May 4 Visitors Center.
With the perpetrators of the Kent State massacre in charge of the May 4th 50th, there are grave concerns for truth, accountability and healing at Kent State.
WHEN will those who represent Kent State protesters of May 4, 1970 be able to participate as stakeholders at the 50th anniversary? Please JOIN protesters against the Vietnam War in this Kent State 50th “Letter of Dissent” to make sure antiwar protesters are shown due respect and honored by Kent State University at the 50th.
For the 50th, the Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks participation as a Kent State stakeholder and the opportunity to share our Truth Tribunal findings, our view on the massacre at Kent State, our on-going activities in taking Kent State before the UN Human Rights Committee and, most importantly, our call for the safety and protection of protesters in America today.
The photograph “Closer view of National Guard personnel and jeeps, with crowd in background” is used with permission from the Kent State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.