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LUNCH WITH BOOKS LIVESTREAM: An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings

July 14, 2020
12:00pm - 1:00pm

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Dr. Gregory Wilson, professor of history at the University of Akron, and his coauthor, Craig S. Simpson,  Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist at Indiana University, will join us online to discuss their book, Above the Shots: An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings.

Watch this Lunch With Books Livestream, July 14 at noon on YouTube, Facebook, or the OCPL website. The program will also be recorded and available for playback through all three platforms.

Provocative memories surrounding the tragic events at Kent State University in May 1970. A deadly confrontation at Kent State University between Vietnam War protesters and members of the Ohio National Guard occurred in the afternoon on May 4, 1970. What remained, along with the tragic injuries and lives lost, was a remarkable array of conflicting interpretations and theories about what happened—and why.

Above the Shots sheds new light on this historic event through the recollections of more than 50 narrators, whose stories are unique and riveting:

  • the former mayor of Kent
  • a witness to the riot in town a few nights earlier
  • a protester who helped burn the ROTC building
  • a Black United Students member who was warned to stay away from the protest
  • a Vietnam veteran who deplored the counter­culture yet administered first aid to the wounded
  • a friend of one of the mortally wounded students, who died in his arms
  • a guardsman sympathetic to the students
  • a faculty member supportive of the Guard
  • an outraged student who went to the state capital to make a citizen’s arrest of Governor Rhodes
  • a pair of former KSU presidents who, years later, courted controversy by how they chose to memorialize the tragedy

This program will be available to watch live on our Facebook page, our YouTube channel, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page.

Gregory S. Wilson is an associate professor of history at the University of Akron specializing in modern U.S., Ohio, and public history. He is the author of Communities Left Behind: The Area Redevelopment Administration, 1945–1965 and the coauthor of Ohio: A History of the Buckeye State.

Craig S. Simpson is Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist at Indiana University. Previously, he was a librarian at Kent State University Special Collections and Archives, where he managed the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project. He has taught at Kenyon College’s annual Oral History Institute and has presented on the Kent State shootings at the Oral History Association annual meeting.

Lunch With Books Livestream starts at noon on Facebook and YouTube.

"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Complimentary beverages are provided. Bring your lunch, feed your brain!

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