MAY 4 WAS ANTIWAR!

About the Kent Massacre Wall Blog

Dear Friends,

May 4, 2020, will mark the 50-year anniversary of the massacre at Kent State University in Ohio.

The events of that day – the killing of four and wounding of nine students, sparked a national student strike, the largest such action in US history. Ten days later, two students were killed and at least twelve wounded at Jackson State University in Mississippi – and the strike spread and deepened.

Rarely noted was the Augusta Rebellion of May 11, 1970. Three days prior to the shootings at Jackson, a rebellion in the black community left six dead.

The campus shutdowns marked a turning point in the fight against the war, as students occupied over 400 universities and reached out to the working class, particularly within the armed forces.

I was the chairman of the Kent Student Mobilization Committee to End the War (SMC), and an eyewitness to the slaughter – among the victims were close friends and fellow activists. After the shootings, like thousands of others, I threw myself into building the strike – telling our story at meetings and rallies around the country and agitating for an end to the war.

The strike led me to Austin, Texas, organizing for the SMC and the regional anti-war coalition. From that vantage point, I saw the development of the Chicano movement and how it mobilized tens of thousands of workers against the war.

I also saw how the student movement provided important support to one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the US working class – the movement of active-duty GIs that was critical in forcing the US to withdraw from Southeast Asia.

Like much of the history of working people, the stories of May 1970 have been ignored and obfuscated.

Ten years ago, Jerry Butler, a fellow artist from Jackson State, and I painted a commemorative portable mural about these events.  This blog was started as a way to record the recollections and events of that time.  The site is being revised and updated for the 50-year anniversary.

You are invited to participate in this living history.  The blog site at https://kentmassacre.wordpress.com is a place to post recollections of that day and those times – what the Kent State Massacre and subsequent events meant to you.

You can write just a few words or a longer story. It can be about political events, your reactions, how it affected your life, a recollection about someone else, etc. Photos and images may also be included.

Together we can build a digital “wall” that is a mural in its own right.

There is a wealth of history worth sharing. This is for everyone – strikers, students, artists, soldiers, activists, observers, young or old, from the US or internationally.

In the past five decades, much of the history of the massacre has been misrepresented or buried – including the nature of the anti-war movement at Kent.  Incredibly, the 50-year commemoration, planned by the KSU administration, was led by Stephanie Danes Smith, a former top official of the CIA.

Public outrage forced her to step down, but her most ardent supporters remain as the planners and spokespeople for the programs.  May 4 is being presented as a failure to communicate – not as the deliberate massacre of antiwar protesters.

The sanitized-militarist program at KSU led to a “Letter of Dissent” signed by over 1000 antiwar activists of several generations.  You can read and sign here: http://chng.it/6tskXh6GMh.

Our movement was not the actions of a small group of radicals – it was a mass movement that involved thousands of Kent students – part of an international movement of millions of people that confronted and defeated US imperialism.  In the process, we inspired new movements and created culture that changed the world.

Our collective memory of those times must be preserved – to help build a renewed and determined anti-war movement today.

Bring the Troops Home Now!

In Solidarity

Mike Alewitz

Post your messages at https://kentmassacre.wordpress.com.

Or send to: alewitz@gmail.com

 

 


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MIKE ALEWITZ

Chairman, Kent Student Mobilization Committee to End the War (SMC)/ 1970

Chairman, Committe of Kent State Massacre Witnesses/ 1970

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