“The climax of dissent, disruption and tragedy
in all American history to date occurred in May, 1970. That month saw the involvement of
students and institutions in protests in greater numbers than ever before in history.”
The Kent State shootings were the shootings on May 4, 1970, of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard during a mass protest against the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of 4 million students, and the event further affected public opinion, at an already socially contentious time, over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.