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May 4, 1970, a Day that Changed America

On May 4, 1970 a troop of Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on unarmed Kent State students protesting America's invasion of Cambodia. Four students were shot dead and nine others wounded. Ten days later, also in a student protest against the Vietnam War, two Jackson State College students were killed and more than 11 wounded by the Mississippi police. 


The Kent State and Jackson State student killings seized headlines at a watershed moment in American history, bringing the war home and distressing a country already divided over the Vietnam War. In the days that followed the campus massacres, more than four million students rose up in dissent across 900 university campuses, generating the largest nationwide student protest in U.S. history. 


The Kent State massacre has never been thoroughly, impartially investigated and no person or group has been held accountable for wrongdoing. Through the courts, families of those who were killed or injured received paltry sums of compensation and a statement of regret.

Forty years after Kent State in 2010, new digital forensic evidence emerged in a tape recording of the Kent State commands-to-fire and gunfire. Still, the U.S. Dept of Justice refused a credible inquiry into the new audio that contained the sounds of shooting and killing of students exercising their fundamental right to political expression. There has been no admission of responsibility on the part of the state.

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