The Ripple Effect of May 4th 1970 - Veronica Rodriguez

May 4th 1970 and the days leading up to them at Kent State university were filled with confusion and Mass Hysteria from both the town folk and the students on campus. As an incoming freshman to Kent State University I had the opportunity to learn about and learn from the historic events of 50 years ago.

All of those springs ago Kent State witnessed the tragic deaths of four students and the catastrophe that came along with the wounding of nine others. This is my tribute to those wounded and fallen in the noxious display of events. So that their beliefs and what they stood for can be lived vicariously through the changes that they have influenced. Such topics as :

  1. Spurred the largest national student strike in U.S. history
  2. Demonstrated that young people can make a difference
  3. Encouraged the ratification of the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18
  4. Shows us the need to communicate effectively and respect differences

Spurred the largest national student strike in U.S. history

When I first learned of this student strike I was completely astonished. The events of May 4th, 1970 in small-town Kent, OH left an immense impact. In the short days following over 4,350,000 students all over the country took part in this national student strike. Leaving around 800 universities and colleges to close. The news of the shooting spread like wildfire and it reached not only the unaware but those who were neutral or had mixed feelings about the Vietnam war. Most of these people can attest to being completely “radicalized” by the news at Kent. Leading to more awareness and ultimately action and change. This is something that my Generation can take away from in order to influence the future. For the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shooting National Public Radio Opened a line for people who were impacted to call and speak. A caller that day described herself as ignorant. My generation has a sense of the things wrong in today's society but today's youth does not submerge themselves in Current events. Ignorance isn't Bliss it's a lie. The only way we as a generation will make a better Tomorrow is if we learn about the problems of today.

"Up until that incident, I had been a pretty conventional young person. I was 20. But when I saw my government killing innocent students who were just walking to class, I was radicalized, totally radicalized. From that day forward, I began to immerse myself in national and international news and politics and have never since allowed myself to be so ignorant of what's going on as I was before that day."

-Sandra told NPR

As a part of Provost leadership academy I will be dedicating this year to observe this campus and the issues that students face and try to bring about change

Demonstrated that young people can make a difference

Reading about the issues that 1970’s America faced I understood why these college students were so vocal in the matter. Nevertheless, I was still taken back a bit. It's just amazing to see young people taking a stand despite that fact that they were despised and thought of as the scum of society by the older generation. The youth today is very opinionated but wildly under-represented For mainly two reasons: No one speaks up since our voice is usually discredited and when we do speak up it is seen as rebellious or too optimistic. Ageism has always been present, but we as the new generation are going to one day lead this country and our voices should be heard because we want a brighter future for the world we are inheriting.

Encouraged the ratification of the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18

Being apart of the younger generation the voting age has always been at the age of 18. It just seems to make sense since one is seen as an adult in the eyes of the law upon on their 18th birthday. I never realized how much of an issue this could be until reading about the troubles the youth and especially the young men had at this time. The students of the May 4th shooting transpired a direct cause of the ratification of 26th amendment. Something my generation could take away from this is to exercise that privilege of voting because those before us fought to have it. And not many of those who fought had the opportunity to enjoy that freedom.


  • “Kent State Shooting Divided Campus And Country.” Kent State Shooting Divided Campus And Country, Talk of the Nation, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126480349?storyId=126480349.
  • “The May 1970 Student Strike at UW.” May 1970 Student Strike, depts.washington.edu/antiwar/may1970strike.shtml.
  • “Student Strike of 1970.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_strike_of_1970#Yale.
Created By
Veronica Rodriguez


Created with images by Herson Rodriguez - "untitled image" • Phil Becker - "untitled image" • AJ Garcia - "untitled image" • Nick Baker - "untitled image" • Nadine Shaabana - "untitled image" • Thomas Griesbeck - "untitled image"

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