i’m not sure how the news came in that day, probably on the radio since my new husband and I didn’t have a TV. I turned 20 in Houston, he at 27 in April. we had both marched against the war, but this was a new realization, a shock to so many.
<blockquote>To Lou Capecci, the crack of the national guard’s guns sounded like more of the same.
“It was pretty common to have demonstrations every day. The national guard had been on campus for a few days. They would shoot tear gas into the middle of the crowd and people would throw it back at them. Then we heard the shots and at first everybody kind of shrugged their shoulders and thought more tear gas,” he said.
But the young student at Kent State University in Ohio was mistaken.
Fifty years ago today, 28 soldiers opened fire on anti-Vietnam war demonstrators, letting loose 67 bullets in just 13 seconds. Four students were killed, nine wounded, and a fissure exposed in American society that shaped politics into the Trump era.
To large parts of the country, the Kent State massacre was a shocking and seminal event – American soldiers gunning down white students was unthinkable until it happened.
Part of the shock for Capecci, who walked away from the demonstration minutes before the national guard fired, was that he thought the soldiers’ weapons were just for show.
“No one knew the national guard had real bullets. We were completely shocked. It just never occurred to anyone that they would actually have bullets to shoot people. It may sound naive but we talked about that for years afterwards,” he said.
It was naive. In other parts of the country, the police were killing African Americans protesting for equal rights, including on college campuses before and immediately after Kent State with little attention from the television cameras that gave saturation coverage to the deaths of the white students.</blockquote>
John Conyers Jr. is Dean of the House of Representatives, he was first elected to Congress in 1965.He is currently in his 26th term, and is one of only seven people to have served over 50 years in Congress. Conyers was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rosa Parks served on his staff for over twenty years and he visited Selma to meet with Freedom Riders multiple times in the 1960s. In many ways, his longevity makes him a living link to our past. Four days after MLK was assassinated, Conyers introduced a bill in Congress to make his birthday a …Continue reading →