IU Alumni Remember the Kent State Shootings

 

Simpson_flyer_09-12-16_KBL_FINALToday at 4:oo pm, the Indiana University Archives and the Center for Documentary Research and Practice are co-sponsoring a talk by Craig Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist, based on his recently published book Above the Shots: An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings. Simpson utilized the Kent State Shootings Oral Histories collection for his book. The lecture will take place in Wells Library’s Hazelbaker Hall, room E159.

In recognition of this event, the IU Archives would like to provide a glimpse into how the IU community reacted to this tragic event with some audio clips and quotes from the IU Bicentennial Oral History Project:

Jennifer Brinegar (’84), a local living in Bloomington at that time, recalls how her father, the mayor, worked with Herman B Wells to prevent another ‘Kent State’ here at IU in the wake of the shooting:

“I do know that when my dad was mayor he worked hand-in-hand with Herman Wells to prevent a Kent State, because that was in the late 60s early 70s. Right after Kent State, I don’t know if you would call it a riot, but there was a big protest on campus about Vietnam. So my dad was the city and Herman Wells was the university and together they talked it out so that it didn’t rise to the level of violence that they had at Kent State. It was scary at the time.”

Leonard Gardenour (’73) was studying Forensic Studies (now known as Criminal Justice) at the time and remembers the rallies in Dunn Meadow protesting the Vietnam War. He also recollects the boycotts following the devastating news of the shooting, describing how students surrounded Ballantine Hall and other buildings on campus, refusing to let people into the buildings:

Some students, however, felt that the boycotts were an ineffective method and chose to attend class instead. Marc Kaplan (’70) elected not to participate saying:

Marc Kaplan
Marc Kaplan (’70)

“I didn’t see how boycotting classes was going to end the war in Vietnam, so I went to classes because that’s what I was supposed to be doing…I was brought up to be a good boy, and didn’t get over that for a long time…Like decades.”

Dennis Royalty (’71), who was a reporter for the Indiana Daily Student at the time, remembers the exact moment he first heard about the shooting. In the following audio clip he describes how the controversy over the shooting dominated the paper and the effect this event had on the campus as a whole:

Linda Hunt (’70) remembers seeing John Filo’s Pultizer Prize-winning photograph on The Newsweek magazine saying “…it looked like, surreal. Well, I mean the whole event was surreal; there’s no doubt about that.”

kent-state newsweek cover photo
Cover for May 1970 Newsweek Magazine Credit: newsweek.com

Hunt also recalls the “remember Kent State” march that occurred on campus the following year:

Beth Henkel (’74) started at IU a year after the Kent State massacre, but protests for the shooting and for Vietnam were still going strong. In April of 1971, she and a group of fellow students took buses to Washington DC to protest the Vietnam War. Find out more about her trip to DC and her experience spending the night on the White House lawn:

For more on Oral Histories and the Kent State Shooting, please join us today at 4pm in Hazelbaker Hall E159!