Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit www.TruthTribunal.org
MendoCoastCurrent, January 28, 2010
Howard Zinn has been a lifelong mentor, friend ~ an inspiration to me. He was my college professor more than three decades ago so I’m proud and blessed. He opened my mind and spirit to a better world, introducing me to Emma Goldman, anarchy and civil rights. With Howard’s help, I saw and believed in a more just, harmonious world.
It began when I enrolled in Dr. Zinn’s class at Boston University in 1973. He wrote of meeting my folks in his book You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train:
The Cambodian Invasion provoked nationwide protests, and on the campus of Kent State University, in Ohio, trigger-happy National Guardsmen fired into a crowd of unarmed student demonstrators, killing four of them, crippling another for life. A photo flashed around the world showed an unarmed young woman, her face anguished, bending over the body of one of the dead students.
On television I saw the father of one of the victims, Allison Krause, barely able to control his grief, pointing to the fact that President Nixon had referred to student protesters as “bums.” He cried out, “My daughter was not a bum!”
A few years later, when some visiting parents were sitting in on the introductory session of my course “Law and Justice in America,” I handed out the syllabus, which included as one of the course topics the shootings at Kent State. At the end of the session, one of the new students came up and introduced herself and her parents. She was Laurie Krause, the sister of Allison Krause. I recognized her father from the television screen and felt a pang of unease that their unspeakable grief was represented so matter-of-factly on a course syllabus. But they seemed to appreciate that the Kent State affair was not forgotten.
The spring of 1970 saw the first general student strike in the history of the United States, students from over four hundred colleges and universities calling off classes to protest the invasion of the Cambodia, the Kent State affair, the killing of two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, and the continuation of the war.”
Howard Zinn has been the only historian to understand and correctly depict the massacre at Kent State. He was appalled at our treatment in the judicial system over those nine years following the shootings.
Fast forward 35 years to early January this year ~ just two weeks ago ~ Howard and I exchanged emails on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, an event Emily Kunstler and I are organizing right now. We were seeking his participation in creating our truth forum on the Kent State Massacre, May 4, 1970.
This year at the 40th anniversary of the shootings, May 1-4, 2010, we invite everyone involved and affected by the Kent State Massacre to come forth and be heard. Our aim is to enable the sharing of 1970 Kent State personal narratives, document and record these stories as we weave them into a collective truth. ALL participants from that day include protesters, university employees, university students, national guardsmen, Ohio and federal servants, and those deeply affected.
So back to Howard: My last email from him led to his apology for being unable to attend in May and he shared this:
Laurie, learning and spreading the truth is the most important thing you can do to acknowledge what took place at Kent State. That was the essence of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and applies equally to our own history in the US.”
The Kent State Truth Tribunal invites your support and tax-deductible, charitable donations. If the Truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, please join us here.