Today I am headed out of Cleveland, towards Pittsburgh. But not without paying a visit to Kent State.
Friday, May 1At Kent State, a massive demonstration was held on May 1 on the Commons (a grassy knoll in the center of campus traditionally used as a gathering place for rallies or protests), and another had been planned for May 4. There was widespread anger, and many protesters issued a call to “bring the war home.” As a symbolic protest to Nixon’s decision to send troops, a group of about five hundred students watched a graduate student at Kent State burying a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Trouble erupted in town at around midnight when intoxicated bikers left a bar and began throwing beer bottles at cars and breaking downtown store fronts. In the process they broke a bank window which set off an alarm. The news spread quickly and it resulted in several bars closing early to avoid trouble. Before long more people had joined the vandalism and looting, while others remained bystanders.
By the time police arrived, a crowd of about 100 had already gathered. Some people from the crowd had already lit a small bonfire in the street. The crowd appeared to be a mix of bikers, students, and out-of town youths who regularly came to Kent’s bars. A few members of the crowd began to throw beer bottles at the police, and then started yelling obscenities at them. The disturbance lasted for about an hour before the police restored order. By that time most of the bars were closed in the downtown area of Kent.
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