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The Kent State Shootings at 50: Rage, Reflection, and Remembrance

Drawing from over 50 interviews from The Kent State Shootings Oral History Project, the authors examine how these detailed, varied and at-times contradictory accounts challenge and deepen our understanding of the events of May 4, 1970, which culminated in four KSU students killed and nine more wounded by gunfire from the Ohio National Guard. Simpson will explore how their methodology led to both obstacles and opportunities, resulting in a text departing in some ways from its original conception, yet one that fulfilled their objective to show how “The Long 1960s,” and the conflicts from that era that still rage in our own, can be illuminated at the intersection of individual and collective memory. He will also discuss potential avenues for further research as we near the 50th anniversary of this pivotal event in contemporary American history.

Date of Event



Kent State University, shooting, oral history


Archival Science | Politics and Social Change


Craig Simpson is Director of Special Collections and Archives at San José State University, a Certified Archivist and an oral historian. He is co-author of Above the Shots: An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings (Kent State University Press, 2016), which was nominated for a National Council on Public History Book Award, and described in a review by E. Timothy Smith as, “a different and fascinating approach to the shootings and their aftermath” (Humanities and Social Sciences Online, November 2017).

University Scholar Series: Craig Simpson