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Over 100 reel-to-reel audio recordings pertaining to the May 1970 Kent State shootings and their aftermath are now accessible through the Kent State University Special Collections and Archives’ digital repository. Some of the recently digitized items include previously inaccessible audio recordings of radio call-in forums, a speech by University President Robert I. White the day after the shootings, a press conference with six students who met with President Richard M. Nixon just days after the shootings, the Scranton Commission hearings, and a speech made by Dick Gregory at the Kent State Memorial Service in 1971.
The digitization project started in spring 2015, after the Kent State University Libraries were awarded a $2,000 Ohio Archives Grant for the proposal, “Providing Access to the Kent State Shootings Audio Archive.” The Ohio Archives Grants are funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, an arm of the National Archives and Records Administration through their State and National Archival Partnership Grants program. Kent State University Libraries faculty members Cara Gilgenbach, Virginia Dressler, and Lae’l Hughes-Watkins prepared the successful proposal.
Gilgenbach, Head of Special Collections and Archives noted, “As we head toward the 50th anniversary of this pivotal event in American history, we seek to provide expanded access to unprocessed portions of the collection, especially audio-visual materials, which are highly sought by researchers.” The audio recordings are available online and are accessible worldwide.
Cara Gilgenbach, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Kent State University Libraries