You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Reply #43: VERY impressive work you've done on this! [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
43. VERY impressive work you've done on this!
I really appreciate it, Kainah, and I hope more DUers find this thread and then read the others in this series as well. I just finished Part I and will read Part II shortly.

I didn't catch those when you posted them -- you know how fast any thread can drop if it's not propelled to the Greatest page! On busy days for me, I often check the Greatest page only, as I did today, and this time found your gem.

I was 19 in May 1970, about the same age as most of the students and guardsmen. I was going through my own personal hell at that time, having recently allowed relatives to adopt my infant daughter born "out of wedlock" as we used to say it back then. Her biodad was a soldier who shipped out for Vietnam before either of us knew I was pregnant.

Whenever the subject of the Kent State student shootings comes up, I usually say something about how that was one of the most horrible in a long string of horrible events going down in those times. Way down here in Oklahoma where demonstrations of any kind were few and far between, the shock reverberated among young people in particular, though I'm sure many older folk were stunned as well.

My father was a WWII combat veteran and a career State Trooper on the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and he had a very bad attitude about protesters, student or otherwise. He was abusive to his entire family, but especially to me, and he and I never got along. But during those times the anger in our home shot up to peak levels. The Vietnam War was a national nightmare that had almost everyone in America upset and anxious.

To those too young to remember it, you can only begin to see right now in this country anything remotely like the sort of rancor and protest that revolved around not only Vietnam but also other social issues -- primarily Civil Rights and the hippie/drug/"free love" movement.

The Sharon Tate murders by Charles Manson and his gang took place in August of 1969, and the craziness during the run-up to their trial in 1970 had a lot of people confused and just plain scared. The Black Panther Party was in the news a lot -- as much because of the outright violent persecution of its members by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI as for their own (often worthwhile) activities. The Watts riots in 1965 in Los Angeles heralded more than 200 major racial equality riots in U.S. cities from 1967 to 1969. The "blended" protest (anti-war and civil rights) in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention was widely televised and added to the nervousness Americans felt -- and launched the most heated of all the fights my dad and I had.

Most anti-Vietnam-War demonstrations in those days were peaceful; but emotions were running high for good reason, and there was a strong upwelling of loud, determined protest which bordered on violence and sometimes broke over into outright violent attacks by both protesters and law enforcement.

To many, it seemed as if our whole country had gone stark raving insane.

No one knew in 1970 that Nixon would engineer his own downfall (via the Watergate coverup scandal), but many of us recognized the madness in that pResident even before he ordered the bombings in Cambodia. I don't doubt for one minute that the Kent State shootings were the eventual outcome of one of those Nixonian "horror stories" AG John Mitchell referred to (quoted in your Part I, Kainah).

And while I agree with your fact #2 in Part I saying that students became a lot quieter after that day at Kent State, I know that anti-war protests went on -- and possibly in many cases were renewed with a vengeance, to prove that we were not going to be intimidated into giving up!

Indeed, many college students across the country were so outraged by the Kent State killings that they mounted very public memorials to the students slaughtered and continued the anti-war protest movement boldly. Here's just one example, taken from the history of Colby College in Maine:

"By 1970, community indignation over the war reached new heights, and creative expression also pushed out in new directions. Over 400 Colby students marched through the streets of downtown Waterville on May 6, 1970, in memory of the four students killed at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard just days before and of the lives lost in the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

This march galvanized a sizable segment of the campus: classes were canceled for the day, and roughly 40% of the student body actively participated in the activities. Students gathered on the lawn of Miller Library at 11 a.m. to lower the U.S. flag in remembrance of the four Kent State victims; later, at 2 p.m., they marched through Waterville and deposited four mock coffins on lawn of the downtown Post Office. Forty students also began a sit-in of Colby's ROTC Office on this day, which ended two days later on Friday, May 8."


I know my own outrage over Kent State propelled me out into the streets to protest -- which meant I couldn't go home again for some time due to my dad's rejection of my activities. I do remember I wasn't out there alone! :)

I think the times we're living in right now are evoking memories in many of us of those days that were so long ago but seem like only yesterday in some ways. "The Times They Are A-Changing" once again ... and I'm glad to see it happening. It's a perfect time for this series of Kent State articles to appear, Kainah, and I extend my personal thanks to you for doing this.


"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."

(From "The Times They Are A-Changin'" by Bob Dylan, released eight times from 1964 to 2000.)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC