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May 4 Collection -- Box 67
Prepared by Denise D. Cibulas, 4 April 1984; Updated by Penny White, June 2013; Re-processed by Anita Clary, June 2018; Updated May 2023
Inclusive Dates: 1975-2007
Extent: 1 cubic foot (1 record storage box and 1 oversize folder)
Physical Location: 12th floor
Biographical Note: J. Gregory Payne, Associate Professor at Emerson College (Boston, MA) has taken a great interest in the May 4 events over the years. A few weeks following the May 4 shootings, Payne drove from Illinois to the Kent State campus where he was unable to stay on the campus for any length of time, due to restrictions issued by the University. That summer he started to explore the events by contacting those immediately involved. He completed his dissertation (Ph.D) at the University of Illinois on the Kent State incident: A Rhetorical Analysis of Selected Interpretations of the Kent State Incident.
As a result of his research, Payne has helped to produce several noteworthy projects concerning the May 4 events. In 1973, he put together a slide show at Illinois for connection with a communications class that he was teaching which explored the 1970 shootings. In 1975, prior to leaving Illinois, Payne served as chairman of the Kent State-Jackson State Memorial Forum and he has been involved in other memorial services since that time.
In 1977, Payne worked on a reader's theater presentation of the May 4 events with Mary Woods and Marissa O'Leary. The piece, which focuses on the events as seen through the eyes of Mrs. Florence Schroeder, eventually became known as Kent State: A Requiem. The piece summarized the political, legal and personal events that have followed as a result of the May 4 shootings.
In 1980, Payne served as Historical Consultant for the Interplanetary Productions/Osmond Communications film Kent State (35mm/color). The screenplay was written by Gerald Green and Richard Kramer. The film, directed by James Goldstone, was filmed in Gadsen, Alabama, August-September 1980. The film was presented as a docu-drama on NBC in February 1981. Another creative effort put forth by Payne in connection with the May 4 events is the book Mayday: Kent State, published by Kendall/Hunt (Dubuque, Iowa) in 1981.
More information on Payne's work about the Kent State shootings can be found at his May4Archive site.
Scope and Content: The papers of J. Gregory Payne reflect his research of the Kent State shootings. The papers will be of value to the researcher of student unrest, especially that which occurred on the Kent State campus in May 1970. Clippings serve to help document the reactions of those involved in 1970, as well as those reactions stirred-up ten years later in 1980 as a result of the filming of the NBC movie. Notes made by Payne provide a careful study of the sequence of events leading to the final confrontation between the National Guard and the students on May 4. Although most of the collection concerns Payne's involvement in the making of the NBC movie, information that was gathered to provide a basis for the film will prove to be significant to the researcher who is interested in the May 4 events and the aftermath.
Arrangement: The items within this collection are arranged in the following series:
Acquisitions Note: The bulk of papers of J. Gregory Payne were transferred to the Kent State University Archives on November 3 and 5, 1980. Additional papers, including a copy of a speech given at the 1985 commemoration, were donated on May 20, 1985, and new materials are added on an irregular basis.
Related Materials: Payne also has placed a collection of works at Yale University in the Kent State collection (MS 804) (Series V, additional donors).
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.
Restrictions on Use: J. Gregory Payne has transferred property and literary rights that he owns in this collection to Kent State University Special Collections and Archives.
May 4 Collection - Box 67
Folder -- Contents
SERIES 1: Subject Files
Scope and Content: These files are comprised of materials that have been organized by subject, category, or type of item.
SERIES 2: Commemorations
Scope and Content: This series includes files for conferences and commemorations relating to the shooting of students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 and at Jackson State on May 15, 1970. Payne was involved with the planning of these programs which were held at several locations, including University of Illinois, Occidental College, and Emerson College. Included in the collection are planning documents, programs, flyers, press releases, photographs, and conference proceedings. The files are arranged in chronological order.
SERIES 3: Film Kent State
SERIES 4: Payne papers and speeches
SERIES 5: Audio Visual