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CCSU Art Professor Remembers Kent State Tragedy

May 4, 2016

Wednesday marks the 46th anniversary of the Kent State University massacre. 

During a student-led protest against the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, four unarmed Kent State University students were shot and killed by members of the Ohio National Guard. Nine were wounded.

"The students who were shot were a football field away from the guardsmen," said Central Connecticut State University Art Professor Mike Alewitz, who was a student protester at Kent State, and witnessed the incident.

"There was clearly no threat to the guards," he said. "The guardsmen just turned at once around. They were leaving the area, and they just spun around, and fired at people who were hundreds of feet away."

Listen below to Alewitz as he recounts more of what he remembers that day:

A map of the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
Credit President's Commission on Campus Unrest / Public Domain

    

Mike Alewitz is a muralist and art professor at CCSU. He was a student at Kent State University and witnessed the Kent State University shootings.
Credit Facebook

Alewitz's anger over the tragedy turned to activism.

He spent the next few months giving speeches at colleges across the country with other witnesses to the incident.

Alewitz said the tragedy at Kent State bolstered the anti-Vietnam War movement, and forever changed Americans' attitudes toward war.

"The days when you could march troops off to battle with the bands playing -- that's over in this country, and it is never coming back," he said. "That is the legacy of the anti-war movement, and an important part of that was the sacrifice of these students at Kent State."