HomeHistory Day Resources

History Day Resources

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

We understand that researching the Kent State events from a distance can be difficult. There are many good websites that not only offer good secondary resources, but primary material as well.

Also, the Kent State Library's Department of Special Collections offers a National History Day page where they have linked various helpfull items from their vast collections. That is an excellent place to start as well.

Narrowing your scope

Because of the nature of the Kent State Shootings, it is advisable to focus on a certain aspect of the events or on individual(s) who can be seen as "Taking a Stand".

Throughout the past 35 years, many students have chosen various aspects of the shootings. Below is a sample of topics that have been used:

Music of May 4, 1970 Student Reaction in 1970
The Nixon Administration's involvement in Kent State Community Reaction in 1970
Annual commemoration Press Coverage in 1970
Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes Biographies of the Slain Students
Students for a Democratic Society Biographies of the Wounded Students
Memorials to the KSU Shootings Ohio National Guard Background
Kent State and the Boston Massacre KSU Communication Processes
Kent State and Tianamin Square KSU in exile
The Parents' Struggle for justice The history of The May 4 Task Force
Terry Norman Charles Thomas
The Scranton Commission Tent City - 1977

First Hand Accounts

Oral histories have been a large part of pieceing together the history of Kent State on May 4, 1970. Several of these accounts are available on-line.

Dean Kahler (2000), this is a short documentary in his own words produced by WAOH in 2000. Dean tells his story about what brought him to be near the parking lot on May 4, 1970, while sitting in his wheel-chair. (Dean Kahler was permaninetly paralyzed as a result of the shootings.)

May 4 Oral History Project (1990-present), 60+ entries from this oral history project were recently put on-line, It shows a variety of view-points and degrees of involevment in the events - from students, faculty and community members.


Alan Canfora, who was wounded on May 4, 1970 often assists with research and interviews. He can be reached through www.AlanCanfora.com

Documentaries / Movies

A few documentaries have been produced about the shootings that are worth looking for in your local library. Most are available at the Kent State University library, AV department (3rd floor), Some are with Special Collections (12th floor).

35th Annual Commemoration Kent State (2005)

C-Span. Sponsored by the May 4 Task Force, this two hour panel discussion with audience questions is titled "Looking Back, Looking Forward". Panelists: Dean Kahler, Jim Russell, Joe Lewis, Rita Rubin-Long, Greg Schwartz, Erin Roof. Moderator Mike Lee, introduction by Sarah Lund-Goldstein.

The year that trembled (2002)

Ardustry Home Entertainment ; Novel City Pictures presents ; produced by Tyler Davidson and Scott Lax ; screenplay and direction by Jay Craven Filmed in nearby Hiram, Ohio. Starring Jonathan Brandis, Kiera Chaplin, Jay R. Ferguson, Charlie Finn, Henry Gibson, Marin Hinkle, Meredith Monroe, Martin Mull, Sean Nelson, Bill Raymond, Jonathan M. Woodward, Fred Willard. A powerful 1970s coming-of-age drama, war chronicle and unconventional love story set in the shadow of Kent State's turbulent events. Follows a group of young people caught up in events that will transform their lives in ways they cannot imagine. A haunting portrait of a time when passions ignited a nation and choices became a matter of life and death.

Kent State: The Day The War Came Home (2000)

Produced by Partners in Motion and Single Spark Pictures for the Learning Channel and History Television ; produced by Ron Goetz ; directed by Chris Triffo Through interviews with participants, the viewer is transported back to 1970. *Recently released on DVD with Phil Caputo's Thirteen Seconds. The package is worth buying just for the DVD. This film is supposed to be required viewing for all Kent State freshmen in Orientation classes (though some sections report that they didn't see it).

The 70's (2000)

A mini-series produced by VH-1. It supposedly follows four Kent Staet students through the decade of the 1970's. It is not very accurate - and takes a "Forest Gump" trip to make sure that at least one of the four main characters does something with major events in the decade.

20th Century with Mike Wallace: The Legacy of Kent State (2000)

Produced by CBS News Productions in association with the History Channel. Narrated by Mike Wallace. An excellent video with detailed interviews with parents, wounded and others.

VH-1 Behind the Music: 1970

A short segment on the shootings explores the song "Ohio" by Neil Young, recorded by Crosby, Stills. nash and Young just a few weeks after the shootings. Chrissie Hynde fromt he pretenders is also interviewed.

Letter to the Next Generation (1990)

Explores current Kent State University student's views of the shootings twenty years after the events.

Kent State (1980)

A mini-series produced by NBC in 1980 at the ten year anniversary of the shootings. Greg Payne's book Mayday recalls some of the behind the scenes stories of making this film. It did win an Emmy in 1981.

Kent State May 1970 (1972)

Narrated by E.G. Marshal, this short film may be available through inter-library loan. It is the best film that walks the viewer through the shootings on the campus as it looked near the time of the shootings. (More recent films reflect major changes to the campus.) It does have that old filmstrip feeling to it, but the content is excellent.

Confrontation at Kent State (1970?)

A film by Mary Leed, Jake Leed, Richard Myers, Pat Myers, Robert Ohlrich, Carla Ruff, Mel Someroski, Mike Tarr.

Kent 1970: covering the confrontation (1970?)

A film that interviews reporters covering the story. Interviews several news reporters, showing how they determined the facts and interpreted the events of the 1970 shootings by Ohio National Guardsmen aimed at student Vietnam War protesters at Kent State University. Gives background and footage of events, like the burning of the campus ROTC building, which led to the occupation of the campus by the guard and the escalation of tensions that followed.

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Reddit! Del.icio.us! Mixx! Free and Open Source Software News Google! Live! Facebook! StumbleUpon! TwitThis Joomla Free PHP