Special Collections and Archives

Annual Commemoration records

Special Collections and Archives

Annual Commemoration records

Important Notice: Due to a grant-sponsored project to digitize materials from the May 4 Collection, in-person use of the May 4 Collection is available by appointment only. Please help us serve you better by contacting us in advance to schedule an appointment for access to this collection.

Annual May 4 Commemoration records

May 4 Collection - Boxes 117, 117A, 117B

Finding Aid

Prepared by Nancy Birk, October 20, 1995; Updated April 2015; Updated December 2016; February 2017


Inclusive Dates: 1971-2016
Extent: 2.33 cubic feet (1 record storage box, 1 document case, 1 flat oversize box, oversized folders)
Physical Location: 12th floor


Scope and Content: This collection contains materials gathered by Special Collections and Archives that document the annual programs held at Kent State University to commemorate those killed and wounded in the shootings on May 4, 1970. Posters, programs, and other promotional material from the annual commemorations are also included, some of which originate with the May 4th Task Force, the student-led organization that primarily organizes and facilitates these events. Also included are materials from the Symposium on Democracy, which has traditionally been held near or during the annual commemoration time period.


Arrangement: The collection is organized into the following series. Materials within each series are organized chronologically.


Restrictions on Access: Some information included in this collection is restricted due to the presence of information protected by privacy laws. This information has been redacted where present on documents in the collection. Un-redacted originals, in all cases, have been retained by Special Collections and Archives.

Related Materials: See also the records of the May 4th Task Force which is primarily responsible for organizing and coordinating annual commemorations.

There are some related audio-visual materials from selected commemorations in the following collections:

Significant collections of records related to major anniversaries are available in the following collections:


Series 1: Commemoration records
Scope and Content: Includes a variety of materials such as schedules, programs, flyers, speeches, and other documents.

May 4 Collection - Box 117
Folder -- Contents

  1. 1971 Commemoration: Position and policies paper, 1971
  2. 1971 Commemoration: Schedules and programs, May 1-4, 1970
  3. 1971 Commemoration: Speech by Julian Bond, April 1971
    Physical Description: “Kent State Rough Draft,” 9-page typescript, photocopy, with some handwritten annotations.
  4. 1972 Commemoration: Press release, April 3, 1972
  5. 1975 Commemoration: Ecumenical Memorial Service program, May 4, 1975
  6. 1975 Commemoration: Schedule of programs, May 1-4, 1975
  7. 1977 Commemoration: May 4th Task Force flyer, May 4, 1977
  8. 1977 Commemoration: May 4th Strike Committee flyers, April 1977
    Historical Note: This student-led committee protested the requirement to attend classes on May 4, feeling that the University should commemorate the victims of the shootings by canceling classes annually on May 4.
  9. 1978 Commemoration: Correspondence to/from Brage Golding, January-May, 1978
    Scope and Content: Includes memos and other forms of correspondence sent to Kent State University President Brage Golding regarding commemoration events for 1978. Includes commentary by some on his decision to cancel classes on May 4 of that year.
    Historical Note/Related Materials: The 1978 Commemoration was rife with conflict as there was disagreement on how commemoration programming should be planned and by whom. This commemoration year also coincided with the Gym Annex protest events (Tent City). Researchers are encouraged to seek additional information on this commemoration in the Clippings collection and collections that contain material related to the Gym Annex protests.
  10. 1978 Commemoration: Faculty and Faculty Senate documents, April-August, 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes memos, letters, statements, and other documents related to Kent State faculty and Faculty Senate observers involved in commemoration activities of 1978.
  11. 1978 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 1970
  12. 1978 Commemoration: Speech by Lawrence Kaplan, May 4, 1978.
  13. 1978 Commemoration: Statement by Brage Golding to KSU Trustees, April 13, 1978
  14. 1978 Commemoration: Statements to media outlets, April 1978
  15. 1979 Commemoration: Convocation program, May 4, 1979
  16. 1979 Commemoration: Schedule, April 30-May 4, 1979
  17. 1979 Commemoration: Speech by Bruce Harkness, 1979
    Physical Description: "The Educational Consequences of the Tragedy," 8-page typescript, photocopy, with some handwritten annotations.
  18. 1980 Commemoration: May 4 Scheduling Committee records, January-May, 1980
    Scope and Content: Includes committee membership, meeting minutes, and other documents created by/about this body.
  19. 1980 Commemoration: Schedules and programs, May 1980
  20. 1981 Commemoration: Faculty May 4 Convocation Committee records, 1980-1981
    Scope and Content: Primarily includes correspondence related to the committee's efforts to bring Mary Catherine Bateson to campus as a commemoration speaker.
  21. 1981 Commemoration: Press release, April 20, 1981
  22. 1981 Commemoration: Programs, May 4, 1981
  23. 1987 Commemoration: Schedule, May 4, 1987
  24. 1989 Commemoration: Press releases, April-May 1989
  25. 1989 Commemoration: Schedule and program, May 3-4, 1989
  26. 1990 Commemoration: Program, April 29-May 6, 1990
  27. 1991 Commemoration: Press releases, April 1991
  28. 1995 Commemoration: Press releases, April-May 1995
  29. 1995 Commemoration: Program, April-May 1995
  30. 1995 Commemoration: Speech by Howard Metzenbaum, May 4, 1995
    Physical Description: 15-page typescript, photocopy, with handwritten annotations throughout.
  31. 1996 Commemoration: Press release, April 1996
  32. 1996 Commemoration: Schedules, May 3-4, 1996
  33. 1998 Commemoration: Schedule, May 2-4, 1998
  34. 1999 Commemoration: Schedule, May 2-4, 1999
  35. 2000 Commemoration: Media packet (selections), 2000
  36. 2000 Commemoration: Press releases, March-April 2000
  37. 2000 Commemoration: Schedules, programs, promotional material, January-July 20004
  38. 2001 Commemoration: Remarks by Thomas M. Grace, May 4, 2001
    Physical Description: 8-page typescript.
  39. 2001 Commemoration: Schedule and flyers, May 2-4, 2001
  40. 2002 Commemoration: Correspondence from Carol A. Cartwright, April 30, 2002
  41. 2002 Commemoration: Correspondence from Staughton Lynd, May 2, 2002
    Scope and Content: Regarding a conference "From Port Huron to Kent State" held at Kent State University, May 31-June 2, 2002.
  42. 2002 Commemoration: Kent State Anti-War Committee flyers, 2002
  43. 2002 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2002
  44. 2003 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2003
  45. 2004 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2004
  46. 2005 Commemoration: Schedules, May 1-4, 2005
  47. 2006 Commemoration: Schedule, May 1-4, 2006
  48. 2007 Commemoration: Schedule and program, May 3-4, 2007
  49. 2008 Commemoration: Schedule and program, May 2-4, 2008
  50. 2009 Commemoration: Remarks by John Filo, May 4, 2009
    Physical Description: 8-page manuscript, signed by Filo.
  51. 2009 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2009
  52. 2010 Commemoration: Blanket Hill program, March 2010
    Scope and Content: A play that "[e]xplores a moment in time - conversations of the National Guard hours before arriving at Kent State University...activities of students already at Kent State University..the moment they meet face to face on May 4, 1970...framed in the trial years later."
  53. 2010 Commemoration: Schedules, March-June, 2010
  54. 2010 Commemoration: Speech by Mark Rudd, May 4, 2010
    Physical Description: 3-page typescript, heavily annotated with handwritten notes, including on verso of page 1.
  55. 2011 Commemoration: Schedule, May 1-4, 2011
  56. 2012 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2012
  57. 2013 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2013
  58. 2014 Commemoration: Schedule, May 3-4, 2014
  59. 2015 Commemoration: Programs and press release, April 30-May 4, 2015
  60. 2016 Commemoration: Schedule, April 26-May 4, 2016

Series 2: Commemoration posters
Origination: Most of these posters were produced by the Kent State University May 4th Task Force.
Scope and Content: Posters typically include schedule of events and featured speakers for each annual commemoration.

May 4 Collection - Box 117A
Folder -- Contents

  1. 1977 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Dick Gregory, William Kunstler, Ron Kovic, Tim Butz, Dave Engdahl, Chic Canfora, Dean Kahler and Alan Canfora.
  2. 1978 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Daniel Ellsberg, William Kunstler, Vernon Bellecourt, Abdul Alkalimat, Constance Slaughter, Clark Kissinger, Alan Canfora, Greg Rambo, Bill Arthrell, Jeter Pittman and Barbara Dane.
  3. 1979 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include William Kunstler, Constance Slaughter, Robby Stamps, Sanford Rosen, Tom Grace and John Bassette.
  4. 1980 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Bella Abzug, Norma Becker, David Dellinger, Rev. John Adams, Stokley Carmichael, William Kunstler, Robert Picket and Dr. Greg Wald.
  5. 1980 Commemoration Poster by Kent CARD
    Scope and Content: Poster produced by the Midwest Coalition Against Registration and the Draft (CARD). Includes information on Kent CARD anti-draft plenary and workshops.
  6. 1981 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Rev. John Adams, Chic Canfora-Knepp, Dr. J. Gregory Payne, and Joseph Rhodes Jr.
  7. 1982 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Janice Fine, Paul Keane, Benson Wolman and Jerry M. Lewis.
  8. 1983 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Sanford Rosen, Dr. J. Gregory Payne, Dean Kahler, Robbie Stamps, Dudley Weeks and Milo Hunter.
  9. 1984 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Tom Grace, Jim Russell, Jane Fleiss, Dr. Tom Hensley, Rev. Bill Jacobs, Dave Boerner and Gerry Condon.
  10. 1985 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Howard Metzenbaum, Elaine Holstein, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Robert Stmps, Alan Canfora, Thomas Grace, Scott Mackenzie, James Russell, Douglas Wrentmore, Harry Ausprich and James Riggs.
  11. 1986 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Sanford Rosen, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Chic Canfora-Knepp and Sheldon Liss.
  12. 1987 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Julian Bond, Ian Taberner, Scott Norberg, Alan Canfora and Tom Grace.
  13. 1988 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Louis Stokes, William Kunstler, Sanford Rosen, Alan Canfora, Tom Grace, Chic Knepp, Dr. J. Gregory Payne and Dr. Sheldon Liss.
  14. 1989 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Christina Baldwin, Carl Oglesby, Mark Rudd, Gene Young, Tom Grace and Dave Cline.
  15. 1990 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Students wounded on May 4, Pat Humphries, Gene Young, Laurel Krause, Dave Kline, Ken Hammond, Wu'er Kaixi, Betty Kirschner, Holly Near, Curtis Pittman, Sanfored Rosen, William Kunstler.
  16. 1991 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Ralph McGehee, Roseanne Canfora-Knepp, Tom Grace and Gene Young.
  17. 1992 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Dr. Thomas Hensley, Joe Lewis, Dean Kahler, Gene Young, William Kunstler, Sanford Lewis, Jan Scruggs and Jack Smith.
  18. 1994 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Samantha Carver, William Kunstler, J. Gregory Payne, Gene Young and Jeffrey Powell.
  19. 1995 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Howard Metzenbaum, Paul Rogat Loeb, Mark Rudd, Stephanie Campbell, Barbara Agte, Steve Drucker, Lou Cusella, Chic Canfora-Knepp, Sanford Rosen, Roland Colom and Kermit Dilworth.
  20. 1996 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Sherrod Brown, Bernadine Dohrn, Stanley Tolliver, Tom Grace, Perkins Pringle, Jen Gensch, Troy Gregorino and Arun Prabhakaran.
  21. 1997 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include James Bresky, Ron Kuby, Michael Novick, Tom Papp, Al Long, Chic Canfora, Mac Lojowsky, Wendy Semon and Carol Meyers.
  22. 1998 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Gary Polvinale, Ron Kovic, Ruth Gibson, Steve Skovensky, Rochelle Gause, Troy Gregorino, Sarah Lund, Charlie Mosbrook, U Sam Oeur, Timothy Moore and Robbie Stamps.
  23. 1999 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Dr. Helen Caldicott, Ley Ly Hayslip, Dr. Molly Merryman, Dr. Barnes Harden, Leverne Larkins, Kim Larson, Paul Edgar, Kathy Bizek and Doug Mackar.
  24. 2000 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Gene Young, Gloria Green McKray, Demitrius Gibbs, Juliette Beck, Julia Butterfly Hill, Vernon Bellecourt, Ramona Africa and Noam Chomsky.
  25. 2001 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Alison Wiener, Ben Pershy, Jim Mueller, Laura Haring, Tom Grace and a Representative from the Sinn Fein Party of North Ireland.
  26. 2002 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Danielle Devore, Tom Callahan, Adria Crannell, Kelley Gorbett, Joseph Lewis, James Russell and Charlene Teters.
  27. 2003 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Phil Arway, Seth Kujat, Billie Campbell, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, Rosanne (Chic) Canfora, Carol Cartwright, Dr. Roland Mason Jr. and Jello Biafra.
  28. 2004 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include William Rivers Pitt, Holly Near, Dean Kahler, Gary Daniels, Mike Pacifico, Sam Harper, Dr. Carole Barbato, T. N. Bhargava, and Alan Canfora.
  29. 2005 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Russell Miler, Barry Levine, Nancy Tuttle, Mike Alewitz, Dr. William Schultz (Amnesty International), Gene Young, Ken Hammond, Marc Lenci, and Chad Salamon.
  30. 2006 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Medea Benjamin and Mary Ann Vecchio.
  31. 2008 Commemoration Poster
    Scope and Content: Speakers include Scott Ritter, Ron Kovic, Emily Kunstler, Dean Kahler and Joe Lewis.

Series 3: Symposium on Democracy records
Scope and Content: Includes conference prospectuses, programs, publicity materials, papers, and other documents associated with this annual, later biennial, symposium.

May 4 Collection - Box 117B
Folder -- Contents

  1. 2000 Symposium records, April-May 2000
    Scope and Content: "The Boundaries of Freedom of Expression and Order in a Democratic Society," first annual Symposium on Democracy prospectus, press release, program, promotional flyer for published proceedings.
  2. 2001 Symposium records, April-May 2001
    Scope and Content: "Media, Profit and Politics: Competing Priorities in an Open Society," second annual Symposium on Democracy prospectus, programs.
  3. 2002 Symposium records, April 2002
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and Religion," third annual Symposium on Democracy prospectus.
  4. 2003 Symposium records, April 2003
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and Globalization," fourth annual Symposium on Democracy prospectus and poster.
    Physical Location: Poster is oversized and shelved in the map case.
  5. 2004 Symposium records, April 2004
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and Homeland Security," fifth annual Symposium on Democracy prospectus and call for proposals.
  6. 2005 Symposium records, May 2005
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and the Arts: Voices and Choices," sixth annual Symposium on Democracy postcard announcement, prospectus, call for proposals, program, schedule, and programs for In My America performance by Wick Poetry Outreach Students.
  7. 2006 Symposium records, May 2006
    Scope and Content: "Irreconcilable Differences? Democratic Policy Deliberations in Science, Religion and Politics," seventh annual Symposium on Democracy postcard announcement, program, schedule, poster, and program for Humanist Art traveling exhibit that was held at the Kent State University Museum during the symposium.
    Physical Location: Poster is oversized and shelved in the map case.
  8. 2007 Symposium records, May 2007
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and Peace? Historical Links and Implications for World Order," eighth annual Symposium on Democracy postcard announcement, table tents, program, and annotated typescript of keynote speech by Tom Hayden.
  9. 2009 Symposium records, May 2009
    Scope and Content: "Re-membering: Framing, Embracing, Revising History" Symposium on Democracy call for proposals, schedule, programs
  10. 2012 Symposium records, April 2012
    Scope and Content: "Democracy and the American Civil War" Symposium on Democracy postcard announcement and program.
  11. 2014 Symposium records, April-May 2014
    Scope and Content: "Voices of the American Experience" Symposium on Democracy poster (includes speakers and schedule of events).
    Physical Location: Poster is oversized and shelved in the map case.
  12. "Democracy Symposia Archive," 2014
    Scope and Content: Includes a summary of each Democracy Symposium from 2000-2014, including theme of each and featured speakers, panelists, and programs.