May 4th Shootings at Kent State

Interview with Professor Laura Davis

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Laura Davis was an eyewitness and is now a Professor at Kent State.

Interviewed by phone on March 12, 2008

Q. Was the ROTC building active for Kent State?

A. The building was being used moderate to the fire.  The ROTC building was not tended to be burnt down. It was a wooden army barracks to train the students to become soldiers for World War II.

Q. What do you know about the Kent State shootings?

A. I was an eyewitness. I saw the National Guardsmen walk up to the hill. I was about 300 feet away from the National Guard. They reached the top of the hill and almost turned 180įand they lifted their rifles and started to shot. They all shot mostly at the same time.

Q. How did you become interested in this shootings?

A. I was a freshman student at Kent State in 1970. I was a witness of this event. I attended every rally especially the one on Monday May 4, 1970. This was life-changing event for me. It was then 25 years later when I started telling people about. 

Q. Why do you think the national guards shot into the protest?

A. I donít believe that any of the National Guardmen life was in danger. One guard testified in court and emitted that they made up a story that their lives were in danger. I donít know why the shot. I also donít believe there was a reason.

Q. Where were you during the shootings?

A. At the rally, guards moved all the students off the campus and over to the other side of the building to the parking lot. I moved to the right to get out of their way so nothing would happen to me.

Q. How do you feel about how Kent State is treated in history today?

A. I think there is still a lack of understanding. I think that their should be more books on this event because all the books tell us the same thing.

Q. With the war in Iraq going on, do you think the students today are involved as they were back then?

A. Well, I think some students are involved, and some students arenít. The primary elections that are going on right now are helping with the students getting involved because even if you canít vote you can talk to your parents and help them decide.

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