Kent State shooting site deemed historic
Published: Feb. 24, 2010
KENT, Ohio, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A Kent State professor said the site at
the Ohio university where the 1970 shootings took place has been
named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch said Wednesday the addition comes
despite the fact that register criteria requires an event to have
occurred at least 50 years ago in order to be officially recognized.
"It was something those students deserved," Kent State anthropology
professor Mark Seeman said. "Now, this place will be recognized by
the government of the U.S. as a place where history important to this
nation took place."
Four students were killed on campus May 4, 1970, when Ohio National
Guardsmen opened fire on anti-war protesters.
"Kent State University was placed in an international spotlight after
a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the
Ohio National Guard on campus ended in tragedy when the Guard shot
and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students," the Ohio
Historical Society said of the event.
The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board nominated the site
for the National Register designation in December, the Dispatch said.
May 4 site now listed on National Register of Historic Places
WASHINGTON -- The National Register of Historic Places, the official
list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation, has
added the site of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University
to the list Tuesday.
On May 4, 1970, the pagoda served as a focal point for the advance
and retreat of the Ohio National Guard.
The pagoda appears the same in 2010 as it was in 1970.
"What happened here at Kent State was historic, and it's only
appropriate that it receives this special designation," said Kent
State University President Lester A. Lefton.
"The National Register recognizes those places that are significant
in American history and culture, and the May 4 site definitely
qualifies for this recognition."
Patrick Andrus, the reviewer with the National Register of Historical
Places, commented that the submission authored by four Kent State
faculty members was very well done.
"It really speaks for itself, demonstrating the exceptional
importance of the events that took place at Kent State," Andrus said.
"It did a good job of providing the historical significance in the
context of the anti-war movement and the later impact and
significance the events had in American politics."
Andrus also commented that for a site less than 50 years old to be
listed shows the exceptional importance of the Kent State Shootings Site.
"This announcement is wonderful news as we approach the 40th
commemoration this year," said Laura Davis, an English professor at
Kent State and one of the four co-authors of the application to make
the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
She was a freshman at Kent State when the May 4 events occurred.
"What happened here at Kent State was an important part of American
history, and 40 years later, we continue to learn from it," she said.
In 1970, student unrest was considered the major social problem in
the United States.
On May 4, 1970, Kent State was placed in an international spotlight
after a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of
the Ohio National Guard on campus ended in tragedy when the guard
shot and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students.
The May 4, 1970, Kent State Shootings Site was proposed for
nomination to the National Register of Historic Places because of
events associated with it, although they happened less than 50 years
ago, were nationally significant.
May 4 caused the largest student strike in United States history. It
increased recruitment for the movement against the Vietnam War and
affected public opinion about the war.
It created a legal precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court
during the trials subsequent to the shootings. It also attained
iconic status as a result of a government confronting protesting
citizens with unreasonable deadly force.
The May 4, 1970, Shootings Site covers 17.4 acres of the Kent State
campus, comprising the Commons, Blanket Hill, the Prentice Hall
parking lot and the Practice Field.
The site is an area within which the Ohio National Guard, student
protestors and an active audience of observers and/or sympathizers
ebbed and flowed across a central portion of the campus, beginning at
approximately 11 a.m. and ending at approximately 1:30 p.m., May 4, 1970.
Visitors to the campus will be able to walk the steps of that history
when the May 4 Walking Tour is dedicated on May 4, 2010, for the 40th
The Walking Tour features historic site trail markers and narration
by notable civil rights activist Julian Bond.
Visitors also will be able to view the design of the future May 4
Visitors Center and can follow its progress at the Kent State
University website. http://www.kent.edu/index.cfm
For more information on the 40th May 4 Commemoration at Kent State
University, visit the May 4 Commemoration section on the KSU website.