Responding to the New Mobilization’s call earlier in the week, up to 150,000 people gathered behind the White House on May 9, 1970 for a massive demonstration against the Cambodian invasion. After the rally (which was addressed by Dr. Benjamin Spock, Ron Young, Doug Miranda, John Froines and Dave Dellinger) the crowd dispersed into the city and street actions were brutally put down by the police with the usual tear gas and head cracks. In total, 413 people were arrested over the course of the weekend.
The week began with strikes at 115 university and college campuses throughout the country. In addition to the escalation of the war into Cambodia, the massive nationwide response to calls for demonstrations was also fueled by the continued repression of the Black Panthers with the New Haven 9 trial, and the murder of four students at Kent State University by National Guardsmen earlier in the week.
Classic poster with the word ‘Avenge’ painted over John Filo’s award-winning photo of teenage runaway Mary Vecchio kneeling over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller. Miller was one of four students murdered by members of the Ohio National Guard at an anti-war protest on the Kent State University campus on May 4, 1970.
Photo by Charles Gatewood for Scanlan’s (1970)
Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of the killings at Kent State. On May 4, 1970 during a demonstration against the expansion of the Viet Nam war into Cambodia the Ohio National Guard killed four students and injured nine others. For years the mainstream narrative had been that it was a poorly executed crowd control mission that led, regrettably, to bad decisions made in the heat of the moment.
Noone who was really paying attention bought that story of course, and last year around the 40th anniversary of the killings a new analysis of audio captured that day revealed that the National Guard was indeed given a command to prepare to fire on the unarmed students.
See the story and listen to the audio here