Student Activism in Ohio
|Grade level(s)||High school (?)|
This collection will highlight student activism in Ohio from a number of different perspectives and time periods. Photographs, ephemera, historical documents and other resources are provided in this primary source set.
Mass Black Student Walkout, Kent State University, November 1968
Student march at the front of campus in support of Black United Students (BUS) requesting amnesty for Oakland Police Department sit-in. Photograph was taken by Lafayette Tolliver, who worked frequently as an informal photographer for Kent State University’s black student organizations, as well as a columnist for the student newspaper and yearbook.
Flyer calling for a two-day strike of classes, undated (1970s)
A handwritten flier calling for a strike of classes from May 7-8 in tandem with a nationwide strike to help end US involvement in Southeast Asia.
Row of National Guard personnel at the crest of hill near the Pagoda sculpture
Kent State University was placed in an international spotlight after a tragic end to a student demonstration against the Vietnam War and the National Guard on May 4, 1970. Shortly after noon on that Monday, 13 seconds of rifle fire by a contingent of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen left four students dead, one permanently paralyzed, and eight others wounded. Not every student was a demonstration participant or an observer. Some students were walking to and from classes. The closest wounded student was 30 yards away from the Guard, while the farthest was nearly 250 yards away.
Strike Papers: Illinois: Western Illinois University
In the spring of 1970, there was a significant amount of unrest on college and university campuses due to the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1970, President Nixon announced that the U.S. would expand its campaign into Cambodia, increasing the tension. On May 4, 1970, four students were killed and nine others wounded, when Ohio Army National Guard Officers opened fire on demonstrators at Kent State University. Ten days later, on May 15, 1970, city and state police fired on demonstrators at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University), killing two students and injuring twelve.
Nationwide, massive student demonstrations and protests followed, in response to both the war and the shootings. While many citizens of the American public sided with the National Guard and law enforcement, the student reaction against the violence grew stronger and ultimately led to the closing of many colleges and universities from coast to coast. Countless campus assemblies and strikes resulted in flyers, newsletters, newspapers, and correspondence reflecting the conditions and sentiments of a portion of the American student body, faculty, and administrative officials at this time. In the aftermath of the shootings, Kent State University Libraries sent letters to colleges and universities across the nation requesting that they send examples of documents related to the national student strikes (or “strike papers”). Many institutions responded to this call for archival documentation by sending, in most cases, photocopies or extra copies of materials from their campuses to Kent State University’s department of Special Collections and Archives. This is one sample issue from this larger archival collection.
Oral history, Ralph Stone (1972 and 1978)
Ralph Stone, professor of history at Sangamon State University, discusses his involvement in student activism, civil rights and anti-war movements, and his involvement in teaching innovative and radical educational programs. He also discusses pacifism, the Vietnam War, political activities at Miami University in Ohio, conspiracy trials, and the political atmosphere in the 1960’s and 70’s.