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Kent State University (Ohio), May 4, 1970

"By 1970, the war was no longer only being fought in Vietnam; it was also being fought on the mainland of America. Millions of students around the country demonstrated against a war which they felt to be unjust and inhumane. Their protests led to conflicts with local police, and even the National Guard in some instances. One such instance occurred on May 4, 1970, and resulted in the Ohio National Guard opening fire on a group of protesters at Kent State University- killing 4 and wounding 9 (Zaroulis; p.319-20). John Filo was at the scene that day, and described the aftermath as such:

"I think I took three steps and said, 'Wait a minute, someone's got to document this.' I turned back around. Wounded and dying people are laying all around me. Other people are pulling themselves up off of the ground. No one is going near the body. And then this girl, Mary Ann Vecchio,comes running up the street and kneels down beside the body. I started walking toward her. Her body was shaking... she was crying. And then she screamed- a God-awful scream. My reflexes took over, and that was it. One frame" (Leekley; p.78)

Filo's reflexes captured what is today one of the most memorable photographs of the time period. This image caused a dramatic shift in the coverage of the Vietnam War, as news agencies began to direct more of their energy toward the war at home, and less at the conflict in Vietnam. The outrage over this incident instantly reached every household in the nation thanks in part to Filo's photograph. The image of Mary Ann Vecchio's screaming face undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the minds of millions of Americans, and reminded them that the students protesting the war in Vietnam were children just like their own."

--From: THREE IMAGES: The Effects of Photojournalism on the Protest Movement during the Vietnam War" by Brady Priest, Shayla Schneider,Marty Whited, and Brian Coates:


Other Kent State-related Web Sites:

Alan Canfora's May 4, 1970 Alan Canfora was one of the students injured by National Guard gunfire at Kent State that day.)

May 4th Task Force

Martin Nolan, "What the nation learned at Kent State in 1970," from the Boston Globe, May 2, 2000.