Kent, OH

Kent State University Workshop Reflect on May 4th Incident

Angela Kervorkian-Wattle

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KENT STATE, OH, - Educators from across the country recently attended Kent State University’s virtual 2021 workshop on American History and Culture. The title of the workshop is, “Making Meaning of May 4: The 1970 Kent State Shootings in US History,” which is possible due to the grant of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The workshop is co-directed by Professor Emerita of English and former founding director of the May 4 Visitors Center, Laura Davis, Ph.D., professor of teacher education in social studies.

This summer’s workshop offered middle school and high school educators an opportunity to explore the complex history of when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Kent State student protestors, killing 4 people and wounded 9 people on May 4, 1970.

The educators participated in several activities, including the discussion of recent issues, attending presentations from witnesses of the shooting, and each participant is then assigned to make a lesson plan to bring back to their school.

Antwayn Patrick of Lexington, Mississippi, Principal and History Teacher, wanted to learn more about youth movements and student organizations during the Vietnam War era, and how Black organizations at Kent State impacted the history of May 4.

“Youths can and have brought about changes in American society,” said Patrick.

“Additionally, the Black United Students movement at Kent State was very instrumental in helping to bring about changes at Kent State. I will let my students know that they can make a difference.”

He was eager to teach about May the 4th after he developed the lesson plan.

“I am thinking more deeply about what it is that needs to be taught in the classroom,” she said. “If one of the essential values of public education is ensuring that all individuals will be able to participate actively in their democratic government, what we teach is of critical importance. Students need to be critical thinkers, able to ask difficult questions with difficult answers in order to be ready for the democracy they will inherit. Part of my responsibility is to give them the uncomfortable stuff to digest. May 4, 1970, is a moment in American history to anchor those types of critical investigations.”

For more information on the issue of “Making Meaning of May 4” visit www.may4neh.org.

And for more information about May 4, 1970, visit www.kent.edu/may-4-1970.

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