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Posts Tagged ‘Arthur Krause’

How a 37-year-old telegram to the President was saved from the dustbin of history

By Shane Harris, published on June 1, 2012 in the The Washingtonian.

September 8, 1974, was an especially chaotic day at the White House. That was the day that Gerald Ford, barely a month into his term as President, gave Richard Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he may have committed in connection with the Watergate scandal. Ford’s decision was widely criticized, and the White House was flooded with angry reactions from the public. One of them came from Arthur Krause.

Krause’s daughter Allison was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, when National Guard members opened fire on students protesting Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. Upon learning of the pardon, Krause went to a Western Union office near his home in Pittsburgh and fired off a telegram to Ford. It read, in part: “You pardoned Nixon because you believe he and his family have suffered enough. My wife and I lost our daughter Allison [ . . . ] due to actions and words of Nixon.”

Krause was of the opinion—one not shared by many Nixon historians—that the former President was personally responsible for the shootings. He wrote that Nixon had given the National Guard the “right to kill,” and he said the President and his senior staff had tried to block the convening of a federal grand jury. Ford’s pardon covered “all offenses against the United States,” not just those related to Watergate, so any hope Krause may have had for seeing Nixon prosecuted vanished with the stroke of the President’s pen.

Addressing Ford directly, Krause wrote, “Sir, you are less a man today than you were yesterday.” Krause signed the telegram along with his wife, Doris.

The telegram arrived at the White House, where normally it would have been answered by staff on the President’s behalf and then filed with other documents about the Nixon pardon. But Krause’s emotional message caught the eye of Roland Elliott, the White House director of correspondence, who thought it deserved more than a form-letter reply.

Elliott passed the telegram to George P. “Skip” Williams, an associate counsel to the President, with a note: “Hasn’t the Kent State case been reopened by Justice?” Elliott seemed
to be hoping the White House could update Krause on whether the Justice Department had any new information on the events that led to the death of his daughter and three other students. Elliott put a red tag on his memo, indicating that Williams should give the question high priority.

But the question was never answered. And Ford never replied to Krause’s telegram. It was placed in a file of unanswered mail, and it sat there for the next 37 years.

The story would have ended there, if not for a meticulous, eagle-eyed archivist named William H. McNitt, who spends his days combing through thousands of pages of memos, correspondence, presidential schedules, and other documents at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On February 15, 2012, McNitt was conducting what he calls a “systematic review of previously unreviewed portions of the collection” — the historian’s equivalent of panning for gold — and he came across Box 82 from the records of a staffer in the White House Counsel’s Office. Inside was a folder labeled “Unanswered Mail, September 1974 (1).” Most archivists pass over these orphaned records, McNitt says. But he opened the folder, and inside he saw Krause’s telegram. He immediately grasped its significance.

McNitt traced the path of the old document, which still bears faint pencil marks made by a White House staffer who underlined “my wife and I lost our daughter . . .” He followed the note from Elliott to Williams, and concluded that the correspondence must have gotten lost in the chaos surrounding the Nixon pardon. “Williams and the rest of the staff in the Counsel’s Office were overwhelmed with work,” McNitt says, “and never got around to responding.”

The Ford Library gave a copy of the telegram to The Washingtonian, and we got in touch with Laurel Krause, Allison’s sister. Reached by phone at her home in California one morning, Krause, who never knew her father wrote the telegram, welled up as the text was read to her.

“That’s my dad!” she said, delighted, and at the same time a little shocked and sad. At the time of the Nixon pardon, Laurel says she was working on the Hill, as an intern for Senator Ted Kennedy. She recalls that on the day a month earlier when the Senate interns were supposed to hear a speech from then-Vice President Ford, he had to cancel, because he was being sworn in as president.

Laurel says that after her sister died, her father began to investigate the events of that day in May 1970. He has since died, but Laurel has continued the cause. She cofounded the Kent State Truth Tribunal, which has collected information and testimony about the shootings and has petitioned President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to reexamine the case.

Laurel’s father never heard back from President Ford. But as it happens, McNitt, the former President’s tireless archivist, may have some answers for the Krause family after all.

The question Elliott had asked about the Justice Department’s investigation is answered, McNitt says, by another collection in the library. It resides among the papers of another Ford-era official, J. Stanley Pottinger, who served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. Pottinger had also worked in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. In his records, McNitt found approximately 2,000 pages of documents about an examination of the shootings by both the departments where Pottinger had worked. The government almost certainly relied on that information to bring an indictment in March 1974 against eight National Guardsmen. A trial began in October, the month after Ford pardoned Nixon. A judge directed a verdict of acquittal in November.

And McNitt found something else. In those 2,000 pages are records of “a number of telephone messages to Pottinger from Arthur Krause concerning the investigation of his daughter’s death.”
Maybe Krause’s insistence helped push the government to seek justice for Allison.

And so, nearly four decades later, Arthur Krause has some measure of response. It’s not in the form of a letter from the President, which we now know the White House felt Krause deserved. The response comes instead from a quiet, diligent archivist, who stopped to open an unremarkable box and sensed a moment in history, and a family in pain.

View the PDF for the full telegram.

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May 4, 2019 by Carlos Jones

“Tell me how on earth could it be justified

for heartless men to have taken those innocent lives

and how many more tears do we have to cry

before our hearts are all wrung dry

leaving only us to ask the question why?

oh why?”  from the song, Truth & Justice (Kent State) by Carlos Jones

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Carlos Jones. I am a musician. I live in Cleveland, Ohio – Shaker Heights to be exact. I’m here today at the request of the family of Allison Beth Krause, to speak for her as we commemorate the 49th year since that particular tragedy.

At first, when asked to do this, I questioned my qualification to do so, as some might – after all, I did not know her… I was not there. I was 12 years old at the time, doing the things that a 12 year old kid, living a quiet and comfortable life in the suburbs might do. Of course, I had been growing up in a time when the news of many horrors and tragedies brushed up against my budding awareness. I knew that people who tried to do good could be assassinated, taken out: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy’s deaths were all a part of my recent inventory of knowledge.

I knew about the ongoing legacy of slavery and the struggle for equality and civil rights, through which my parents and their ancestors had lived, and that so many were still living. And it was almost as if we were to accept those things as a matter of course. We were taught in school about the glorified wars of our mighty nation, and all of the heroes who helped to bring us to our status as a noble and benevolent overseer of the world. I knew about the war that was going on in Vietnam – well, what I was being told of it anyway.

There were those that were older than me, like Allison, that had questions…

From what I’ve learned of her; Allison Krause was a bright, warm, loving, caring, energetic, intelligent and free-thinking young woman who had the audacity to question the veracity of the things our government claimed to be the reason for sending thousands of our young men and women to a foreign country to never return, or to return broken in pieces, physically and mentally. She was a young woman, full of hope, full of life and promise, who had set out to further her education, to one day become a productive citizen and perhaps contribute to positive and peaceful change in our society – but she had questions…

She knew there was much unrest in the world and all around her…

She knew that there were things wrong with our country that she and her peers felt compelled to speak out against, and she also knew that there were some who took their protest to the extreme and perhaps in the wrong direction, or maybe even had a totally different agenda…

A young woman, who one day might have children of her own, that she would have to teach and guide and somehow shield from the tragic truth, until they grew old enough to discern that not all is what it seems or what you’ve been led to believe…

But that was not to be, we had men in positions of power determined to hold fast to the old way of doing things, and maintain the status quo, and saw those who wanted and demanded change as annoyances and rabble-rousers. We had a president who claimed that he was not a crook, and as it turned out, he was telling us the truth – he was worse. And because of heartless decisions made by men who saw these young people, your sons and daughters, as nothing more than bums, outlaws, and hooligans… well, no need to state the obvious – you know why we’re here.

It was beautiful day in May – unlike this one…

Allison Krause was exercising what she had always been told was her right, to protest what she felt (what she knew) was wrong, even while knowing that there could be consequences for doing such a thing – she could face arrest, retribution, brutality, perhaps even… death? No, they couldn’t possibly go THAT far, could they? She and her fellow students faced off against uniformed men with rifles, choking against clouds of tear gas.

That day – this day, in May, we were awakened to the cold hard fact that you CAN be murdered, in broad daylight, no matter WHO you are, by your own government for being disobedient, for being vocal, for being active, for being a protester. That day, a 12 year old kid felt the chill of that reality, and his childhood fell away as if shedding a skin, and he became aware that there was indeed, something terribly wrong, and there was no going back to any semblance of childlike innocence. I, like so many of you, was changed forever.

Her Father, Arthur, has long since passed, worn down in the remainder of his life by the obstinate and apathetic demeanor of a government with no pity and no remorse. Yet he fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to sue the State of Ohio, and had become a staunch advocate for the right to protest.

Her Mother, Doris, more recently passed on, lived out her final years carrying the weight of the heartbreak, sadness and loss, with no apology, no closure, no resolution whatsoever, except for a “statement of regret” and the mere token of a $15,000 legal settlement, which apparently is what a protester’s life is worth – well, according to those with the power to make those kinds of decisions. They were never able to experience any type of healing or relief from the devastation that haunted them for the rest of their lives.

We hear these words thrown about quite often; Truth, Freedom, Liberty, Justice “for ALL” (?) Pretty words, but what do they MEAN???

What is TRUTH? It would seem that we live in a time when truth is whatever the loudest voice says it is (or the ones with the most money). The concept of truth has lost its weight, its value. This is the age of alternative facts. We have to ask ourselves; has it always been this way?

And JUSTICE – now there’s a slippery one… as elusive as trying to grab smoke.

We’re led to believe that it is an absolute thing, but unfortunately we’ve seen and we have learned that it is NOT equal and it is NOT easily attainable.

Someone asked me recently; “why are we here?” And I answered without even really thinking about it; “I think we were put here to plant flowers”…

By that, I mean that it’s up to each person, who is inclined to do so, to try and add more Beauty to a world that is too often marred by ugliness, to shine more Light in times when the darkness threatens to surround and swallow us up, to Love more fearlessly and ferociously in a time when hatred rears its head and wants to divide us, to help each other Heal from our past hurts and hostilities, and try to become our better selves.

That is why I’m here…

I tried to think of what Allison might say if she were here today, had she been spared – I think she most certainly would be here, talking to you, instead of me.

Who am I to speak for her? The question is more; who am I NOT to? She is MY sister, and she is YOUR sister, maybe not by blood but by the common humanity we all share. It could have been anybody that day – your brother, your sister, the woman or man who would become your mother or father. The government-issued bullets that found their deadly mark that day were lethal, uncaring and indiscriminate, and brought only violence, pain and death.

So, I’d have to agree with Allison – FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!!!

Carlos Jones – May 4th, 2019

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May 4, 2018, Kent, Ohio
A speech for Allison Krause, one of the four students slaughtered at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, written and spoken by Idris Kabir Syed at the 48th commemoration

This year marks my 28th commemoration. I have spoken only once for a student, Jeffrey Miller. In my younger years as a student, I thought that Jeff was the one who I had the most in common with—like him, I considered myself a young revolutionary who deeply believed in activism and civil rights. I didn’t realize how much I have in common with Allison until this year.

When Allison’s sister Laurel asked me to speak for her sister this year, I was honored and moved to tears. I realized immediately that she was entrusting me with something deeply important for her family. If there is one thing I have learned in my time working with the families of the victims of May 4th, it is that the trauma of that day lives on and has profoundly affected the families in myriads of ways, both negative and positive. My own family relationship with Kent State and May 4th (as both of my parents were on campus that fateful day) mirror this reality as well.

My relationship with the Krause family began when I was in high school. I worked for Allison’s cousin Marvin at Arabica coffee shop on Coventry in Cleveland Heights. I knew Marvin’s daughter, Allison’s cousin Jennifer and would run into her at Grateful Dead or Carlos Jones concerts and we had many mutual friends. When I went to Kent and got involved with the Task Force I met Doris, Allison’s mother, and was amazed at her grace. The first year that I met Laurel was for the 40th commemoration was not what I had hoped. It was my first year as faculty advisor when Laurel came to the last meeting of the Task Force before the 40th commemoration. In the parlance of today’s students, she was “aggro” and she let us know it. She demanded that the Task Force honor her family’s wishes and challenged us to not succumb to silencing their voices as she felt the University as a whole has done since 1970. I was stunned shocked into silence thinking we were trying to honor her and her family. I realized very quickly however, her concerns were completely valid, based in a historical relationship of trauma at Kent State University that is institutionalized here. It took me some time, but I discovered there was another, more appropriate term (which young people also use today) for Laurel, which is “woke.” Laurel is woke—woke in ways many of us don’t understand but need to recognize. I watched her tireless work with the Kent State Truth Tribunal, started by her and Emily Kunstler (daughter of the esteemed civil-rights attorney, William Kunstler) that year. That summer, I also watched countless video testimonies of people who had never quite felt comfortable sharing their story with the university, but opened themselves up to Laurel and Emily in ways that even surprised them. These stories are vital, and I hope that the University supports the efforts of the Truth Tribunal to continue to promote those stories being told. After the Obama/Holder/Perez refusal to re-open the Kent State case, Laurel then took the stories of her family and Truth Tribunal participants to the United Nations forcing the world stage to acknowledge America’s shame and murder. The Krause family is woke—whether Father Arthur, Mother Doris, Sister Laurel, or Cousin Jennifer—they were and are all woke in their own important ways. Today, I want to talk about how I think Allison was woke, and what we can still learn from her 48 years after her untimely murder.

Allison was not at Kent in 1968; she was finishing her senior year of high school in Maryland. She was against the war in Vietnam but by no means a “radical or revolutionary.” I don’t know if she knew of the killings at Orangeburg, or much of what was happening with BUS/SDS at Kent State University. The seminal part of that year seemed to be when she started to volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital. In the book 13 Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State, her mother remembers:

“’She used to help on a volunteer basis at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital there in Washington,’ said Doris Krause. ‘So few people could do it. She did it so well. As a mother, it was something I liked to see her do.” Allison would go off to St. Elizabeth’s, a mental hospital, and visit with the patients. Often she would play basketball with the men. They were patients that society had long for­gotten. They sat there in forlorn gloom, waiting for nothing, their eyes glazed, their lives a sea of silence. Some had not had visitors for as long as thirty years.’ Richard Jaworski would ask Allison to speak of her experiences at the hospital. She told the class that the inmates would let her shoot during the basketball games, leaving her undefended with the delight of her presence and interest. When a boy in class asked if it was not dangerous to work with the patients, she replied, ‘Love, they sense it. It calms them.’ The inmates were so grateful for her attention they never considered harm, she said.

‘One day Allison returned home unusually happy; her eyes were aglow and she could not wait to tell her mother the wonderful thing that had happened at St. Elizabeth’s that day. A man had spoken to her! A man who had never spoken to anyone else for the longest time had spoken to her. It was one of the most exhilarating moments of her life. She felt that she had personally accomplished this.’”(Esterhas and Roberts, 1970)

Allison started school at Kent State in the fall of 1969; her best friend was Bonnie Henry. She also met and fell in love with her boyfriend Barry Levine and they were together until her death the following spring. They attended the National Moratorium against the War in DC that November. While Allison attended one SDS meeting, with Bonnie and Barry, she was hardly impressed or convinced by their values and priorities. She was trying to understand the larger political atmosphere; again from 13 Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State,

“At Kent the academic atmosphere and Allison’s searching curiosity pushed her deeper into the world of books. She read Kafka, the present Tom Wolfe, and Catch-22. Slowly her reading began to widen into the current political trends. She and Barry shared a political­ science class that friends say absorbed her. When the Black Panthers emerged in controversy, Allison applied her energies to satisfying her need to know. She began to believe that political repression was real and it frightened her. ‘She wanted to go to Canada and open an art gallery after school,’ Barry said. ‘We wanted to go there because of the growing political repression that we felt was increasing in this country. Things like the Chicago Seven, the Panthers, and the ineffectiveness of the Moratorium all led to her feeling of the coming and existing repression.’…When Spring came, Allison expressed her desire for the woods…’I wish there was some place where we could go and walk, some place with trees and flowers,’ she told Bonnie. ‘Some place away’…Things seemed to be going marvelously for Allison on her nineteenth birthday, on April 23. She was set for the summer and for Buffalo in the fall and most important, she had Barry. Her fifteen-year-old sister, Laurel, came up to visit her on her birthday and the following Sunday Arthur and Doris Krause drove up. Together with Barry, they ate at the Robin Hood restaurant just off campus. ‘She was so happy to get out for a meal,’ Doris Krause said. It was the last time they were to see their daughter alive.” (Esterhas and Roberts, 1970)

There are many stories and photos of Allison on May 4, 1970. Many of them are horrific and terrifying. I do not want to focus on those today. The one I think about most often is how, as she climbed the hill by the pagoda, she tore her small piece of wet cloth to help another student suffering from tear gas, shortly before she broke down in tears asking why the guard was treating them this way. Even to the end, Allison wanted to help others, to let people express themselves, whether through art or voicing dissent, she wanted to stand up for what she believed was right, fair and just. That was the way she was, woke.

In preparing for the speech, I asked Laurel if there was anything I could say for her family. She told me instead to listen to what Allison tells me and speak that truth. I went and sat at the bell late at night on April 23rd, and asked Allison how she felt on what would be her 67th birthday. She said she was sad, confused, angry, but still woke, still standing for truth and justice. She asked me a number of questions: “How could there be so many school shootings in 2018 alone? How could our society be as polarized, perhaps even worse than 48 years ago? How can so many Black people be openly killed and so few people care? How can we still be at war in the Middle East, and why don’t we care about the casualties, refugees and destruction these wars have produced? What are we doing to our mother Earth? When we will we ever learn that “flowers are better than bullets”? “Ah well.” she told me, “It is up you, Laurel, Jennifer, Samaria, and Emma Gonzalez to tell them now. I hope they finally listen.” I asked her “What can I do?” She gently reminded me with a loving smile, “Go and walk in the woods, make art, spend time with your family and mine, try to heal the wounds, love, and we will talk again.”

Idris Kabir Syed, MFA, M.Ed.
Associate Professor and Faculty Advisor to the May 4th Task Force
Kent State University, Dept. Pan-African Studies

 

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May 17, 2016 A college essay written by Kimberly March

DSC00159When I first chose to write this paper on Laurel Krause, I was expecting it to be just like any other short research paper on a human being. Read up on their accomplishments, read some interviews, look up different articles, et cetera, et cetera. Little did I know that I would have the wonderful opportunity to sit down and have a phone conversation with Laurel herself. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon on May 1st when I decided to make the call – I had been mulling over the decision as to when to call since hearing back from Laurel. I was extremely nervous to call and make a fool of myself.

Laurel Krause is the younger sister of Allison Krause, one of the young college students killed in the 1970 shooting at Kent State University. The massacre, performed by National Guardsmen, occurred at an anti-war protest held on campus soon after President Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. It is still, to this day, unconfirmed who gave the orders for the Guardsmen to shoot at the unarmed students, or if there was an order at all. No charges were brought upon anybody, nobody took responsibility, and nobody ever apologized for the tragedy. Arthur Krause, Laurel and Allison’s father, continued fighting for more information for the rest of his life, filing lawsuit after lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court. The immeasurable trauma thrust upon the Krause family and the friends and family of all involved in the shooting was never resolved or given any type of closure.

However, I do not want to spend this entire paper focusing on the horrific things that happened because of the Kent State shootings. I want to focus on Laurel Krause, a peace-seeker/creator, activist, and friend. My first impression of Laurel was how humble she is – she was shocked that I chose her to write my paper about. I had no idea what to expect, and I could not have been more relieved to find that I was talking to a real person on the other end of the phone. One thing that she said to me during our two-hour conversation that eased my nerves was, “My name Laurel and I’m not a ma’am. I’m an anarchist trained by Howard Zinn and sister of Allison, but I am very much a, y’know, a human being and I’m right at the same place-level that you’re at. And I absolutely want to be that way.”

Laurel and I talked about a slew of different topics. The main topics I want to focus on are the overall idea of creating our own peace and the Allison Center for Peace, located on the Mendocino Coast in California. We talked about the government and how they have formed our society into a society that has lost hope. “Our world is a traumatized world…How is it serving them that we don’t heal this wound?” There have been so many government-led tragedies – the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State are only two. Laurel says, “I think the strongest card we’ve got is to actually live happily in peace. And let’s just get on with it.” The government will not give us the power to be able to foresee ourselves living happily. They will not allow us to heal the wounds of trauma that they have inflicted, because as soon as they do, they have lost some of the control they worked so hard to build. We then began talking about the Allison Center for Peace. This will be a peace destination – the Mendocino Coast location hopefully being one of the many across the nation in the future. A “peace capital”, of sorts, where the business of peace is examined and safe renewable resources and low radiation organic farming are present. Laurel graciously invited me to come out and visit the Center someday if I have the means, and I certainly intend on taking her up on that.

Laurel, along with the help of her co-founder Emily Aigner Kunstler and the rest of the dedicated team, started up the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010. “The Krause family founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal in order to reveal the truth and establish a clear and correct historical record from the collective voices of Kent State (TruthTribunal.org). The Tribunal is comprised of almost one hundred interviews with family, friends, survivors, and witnesses of the Kent State shootings, which will all be archived and available to be streamed on the Truth Tribunal website. Laurel told me that she has come to terms with the fact that she will not see justice for Allison in her lifetime – “I’m not a fool.” However, because she has documented everything, it will all be available for them when it is deemed relevant again.

There were indeed some deep conversation topics, but there were a lot of laughs and coinciding opinions and feelings of peace and happiness. Laurel and I had a great time speaking of the Goddess emerging and peace being possible if we find our own peace. We spoke of buffoons in politics and Howard Zinn coming through her in our conversation with positivity and light. I look forward to my next correspondence or phone conversation with Laurel, for I feel I have gained a wonderful new friend. It was refreshing to have a long-winded conversation with somebody as an equal on a level playing field. Although my instincts and respectful reflex will urge me to call Laurel ma’am the next time we speak, I will definitely make sure that I do not.

I close this piece with an uplifting point. “Change must come from the young people.” If young people in my generation do not speak up against the man and demand a better, more peaceful tomorrow, we will not get it. On the flip side, that means that as young people in this country and world, we have the power to make a difference. We have the power to mold our future. The government is not going to simply give us the peace and happiness that we want – so let’s create it. Let’s heal the trauma that has been inflicted on us and move on together. We have the means and we have each other. It is time that we take what is rightfully ours. It is time for peace.

References

“Laurel Krause.” Telephone interview. 1 May 2016.

“About Section.” Kent State Truth Tribunal. Web. 3 May 2016.

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On May 4, 2016 at the 46th commemoration of the Kent State Massacre, Jennifer Schwartz stood for her cousin Allison Krause and offered this speech:

AllisonFlowersAreBetterMemeAnother May 4th parent has died since last we gathered to commemorate this event. Another mother has left us before the truth is clear and justice is served. My aunt, Doris Krause, Allison’s mother, passed away peacefully under hospice care and in the arms of her sole surviving daughter Laurie on January 17th, just a few months ago. As she crossed over, she left behind decades of profound grief and struggle. Perhaps it is our world she now grieves. A world she taught her children to believe was just, civil, compassionate, and fair.

As I was growing up in Cleveland, my father, Doris’ nephew, used to council me, when I felt wronged by a friend or noted an injustice in the world, he used to say to me “Life isn’t fair.” And he knew. We all sat by feeling helpless as the Krause’s endured a very public grief, and extensive legal battles. Instead of receiving any formal acknowledgement of one of the gravest of misdeeds a government can inflict upon its citizens, they were subject to factually unfounded and prejudicial accusations thrust upon their daughter. In her eulogy for Aunt Doris, my cousin Laurie noted, “my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.”

Please join me in a moment of silence for Doris Levine Krause. May her memory be a blessing to us, may her struggle be released, may her quest for truth be carried forth.

I never met my cousin Allison. I was a little nine month old learning to walk and run when she was stopped in her tracks by an M1 bullet right over there in the parking lot. So I have always been looking for the truth myself, searching for accounts that would provide clarity and do Allison and May 4th justice. It concerns me that this history be told and recorded accurately. Among the articles I have found was a 1971 piece, published in the National Review, by William F. Buckley.

Mr. Buckley noted that they found pebbles in her pocket. They called it evidence of her aggression, evidence of her crime. They called it evidence she wielded “missiles” of rock she had concealed in her pocket. Deadly? Really? That’s a sham. The classic, tawdry response: to blame the victim. What really had them shaking in their boots was not some rocks in the pocket of a college freshman with flowers in her hair, but that she wielded words of truth. She confronted their ethics, their judgement, and refused to accept President Nixon’s escalation of the war in Southeast Asia. She was one of many hundreds of thousands across the nation who took to the streets that weekend in May to protest. I could not be more proud of her. My cousin, Allison Krause, was a 19 year old honor’s student. Bright, compassionate, hard-working. She was killed that day as she raised her voice in opposition to a government that had gone morally astray. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets,” said my aunt Doris, “that this was the rationale for killing her… why” she asked, “didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

For 46 years we’ve been parted from my cousin Allison. A lifetime! My lifetime. For 46 years we’ve sought answers. For 46 years the government’s been adept at denying culpability, avoiding responsibility and suppressing truth. For 46 years we’ve been lied to and brushed aside. We now know there was an order to shoot; we’ve heard it. Don’t tell us you were afraid for your lives with your loaded M1 rifles and your helmets and your high ground advantage. Don’t tell us you felt endangered when Governor Rhodes himself, your commander in chief, came to town to cheer you on and gave you carte blanche to “eradicate the problem.” For 46 years we’ve called for truth. My uncle Arthur led the legal battle for 10 years following May 4th. While we agreed to a settlement, we were not satisfied that truth was honored nor that justice was done. In a 1981 interview with J. Gregory Payne, my infuriated Uncle Arthur declared “We don’t want the damn money… we want the truth! We want the facts about how the four died. We aren’t afraid of the truth. We aren’t the ones who have been saying “no comment” for the past 10 years.” He went on: “I think we are all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can’t get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings as a result.” With all the hate speech going on these days by political leaders, I shudder to think what’s ahead, and like my cousin, I will not allow the hate to go unchallenged.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born of Arthur and Doris Krause of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She smiles at me whenever I see her, there in a handful of black and white photos. The impish seven year old girl sits there in a white dress and patent leather shoes next to her little sister Laurie, in the front row of a family portrait taken at my aunt and uncle’s 1958 wedding. I long to reach into the photographs and take her hands and play with her, hug her, know her.

Back in those days in the early sixties, the Krause’s used to go on Sunday drives out in the country around Cleveland, often ending up at Kent, dining at the Robin Hood and enjoying the pastoral campus. Remarkably, at a very early age, Allison made her decision to attend college at Kent State University. She loved it here; she felt at home. She felt safe.

In a eulogy for my cousin, Richard Jaworski, one of her high school teachers at John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, Maryland, described her like this:

Constantly she was surrounded by boys and girls who came not only to tell her their problems, but to laugh with her and bask in her quick wit and charm. Allison possessed a rare trait. She could move among many groups of students and always exhibit tolerance for the views of each group in which she participated. When baited by adults, some young people responded with anger and bitterness, if not violence. Allison expressed a passive, stoic quality, as if recognizing the injustice of name-calling, as if realizing the illness of the person filled with hate.”

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined other students who were opposed to the war in Vietnam, especially as friends got drafted. As a teenager, Allison participated in anti-war demonstrations. She knew that as an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly.

She entered Kent State University in the fall of 1969 where she quickly made friends, earned high marks in her studies, and met the love of her life, Barry Levine, another young student from New York who shared her values. Together they assembled with others on Friday May 1st on the commons to raise their voices against Nixon’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia. She spent that first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of spring and becoming increasingly concerned about the military presence on campus, now occupied by the National Guard.

On that beautiful, warm spring weekend Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and talking with some guardsmen among the blooming lilacs. I have heard different accounts of this story, some say Allison placed a flower in the barrel of Guardsman Meyers’ rifle, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the photographs that have preserved that moment in time, with Allison, the flower, his rifle, and the irony and release of tension they all felt in that moment, as human beings who were on opposite sides of a conflict. And when Allison witnessed that guardsman’s superior come along and reprimand him there for having a silly flower in his gun barrel, Allison responded,

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH PEACE? FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!”

The next day Allison and Barry joined the increasingly tense voices on the commons as the students squared off with the heavily armed National Guard. In Payne’s May Day: Kent State, I found Barry’s accounting of these final moments of Allison’s life, which provides such insight into her character:

As we stood on the hill watching and waiting for the soldiers to make their move, Allison ripped in half the moistened cloth she had brought for protection against tear gas. Another dispersal order was given, yet no advance was made, so Allison felt safe in running a few yards to give a friend part of her already compromised cloth. She tore hers again and gave him half. It was a small gesture, but one that so clearly demonstrated her consideration and willingness to share. Tear gas was already being fired as she scrambled back to where I was waiting. We stood for a few seconds, watching the soldiers move out behind a screen of gas, before deciding to retreat with a crowd of students. As we began to retreat over the hill, I could see Allison almost beginning to cry. A few steps further she turned to me with tears rolling down her cheeks and asked, ‘Why are they doing this to us? Why don’t they let us be?’ A peaceful assembly was being violently disrupted, breeding anger in most of those being dispersed. However Allison did not feel anger, but rather disappointment and sorrow. Disappointment because the students were not given a chance to gather peacefully, and sorrow because of the violence she felt would ensue. Unfortunately these passive emotions were soon transformed into aggression, for as we retreated, a gas canister landed at our feet, exploding in our faces. It was at this point that Allison’s sorrow changed to anger and her strained tolerance turned to resistance. After a few seconds of recovery, Allison turned in her tracks and froze. She stood in the path of the pursuing troops screaming at the top of her lungs. Having been pushed too far, she now lashed back and I was forced to pull her along, fearing that the distance between us and the oncoming troops was becoming critical. Twice, before we reached the crest of the hill, she turned to speak her mind to these men. Each time I had to pull her onward. Upon reaching the top of the hill, she again turned, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she screamed and yelled and stomped her feet as if all her yelling might stop these men. The hand drawn to her face holds a wet rag used to protect herself from the gas, and the other holds mine, with which I pulled her over the hill and into the parking lot, a safe distance from the troops. For several minutes we stood in the parking lot watching these men threaten us with their rifles. In response, we cursed them and threw rocks. When they left we followed, all the time screaming and yelling, and then they turned.”

None of the four dead or nine wounded were armed that day with anything truly threatening but their voices that challenged the state’s right to kill. State-sponsored violence against peaceful but vocal citizens was permissible in 1970. This precedent paved the way for continued ongoing police aggression across the country that is with us to this day.

While we commemorate this sad anniversary, let us understand that in the days that followed the Kent State killings, precious lives were lost at Jackson State as well. Yet Jackson State has not remained in the national memory in the same way that Kent State has. As Samaria Rice joins us here today, a courageous and outspoken mother standing up to the police who took the life of her son Tamir, we are reminded that while our Kent State students were murdered for their political beliefs, to this day American citizens continue to be targeted simply on the basis of their race. It was a feature of the killing at Jackson State that tragically and egregiously continues to this day. I would like to take this occasion to remember Jackson State, as well as to honor the life of young Tamir Rice. My cousin Allison would want us to do this.

My name is Jennifer Schwartz. I find pebbles in my pocket every time I visit Allison’s grave, carrying rocks with me to lay upon her headstone as a symbol of my remembering.

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January 25, 2016 from the Mendocino coast

Doris L. Krause, mother of Allison Krause killed in the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, peacefully crossed over on January 17, 2016 in the loving arms of her family

Eulogy for Doris L. Krause from her daughter, Laurel Krause

optionfour (1)Last week while I was walking along the California coast near my home, I was called to my mother Doris Krause’s bedside by hospice caregivers informing me that her time was near. Mom had stayed in Pittsburgh, our family home, perhaps for the same reason I went very far away. We shared a tragedy in our family that broke our hearts and wounded our spirits but ultimately deepened the love between us in ways we might not have otherwise known. We have carried this wound for so many years but I arrived back home in Pittsburgh to experience a profound healing with Mom. I am moved to share our experience as we lay her body to rest.

It is well known among you all that our family has been troubled by my sister’s Allison’s killing by the US military as she protested the Vietnam War on her campus, Kent State University. What you may not know is the ensuing US government pressure and harassment of our family that affected every aspect of our life since May 4, 1970. The pain of losing my beautiful sister was unspeakable to me. I carry her loss with me to this day, as I do her immense, magnanimous spirit. But my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.

When my father Arthur passed away in 1988, my mother was left to maintain our now small family on her own, along with me, to honor Allison’s legacy.

We have walked a difficult path together but this week, all our troubles fell away. My mother and I loved each other without limit, and got beyond our lifelong hurt in losing Allison in such a painful, public way. All that mattered in our time together this past week was the love we shared, the joyful memories of growing up together, the laughter and the eternal bond we carry with us.

Mom and I found a way to let our mutual pain go. We expressed our deep gratitude to each other for sharing so much love, and most importantly, we found peace.

Mom shared with me that she was afraid to go to the other side but I was blessed to be able to walk her over and let her know about the welcome banquet being prepared in her name. That our beloved dog LB was ready to greet her and that my father Arthur and sister Allison had been waiting too long for her arrival.

At 90 Mom has been severely health challenged these last few years. As we walked together, I saw her leave her troubles and suffering behind. She went home to my father now gone 28 years. She has been able to embrace her daughter Allison, now gone almost 46 years and I watched and encouraged her. My sister had stood for peace and had died in its service. We have since been honoring her memory with our own commitment to peace. And as my mother left this world at my side, I saw for the first time … my mother at peace. And I know that she is now free.

Voiced at the graveside service of Doris L. Krause by Laurel Krause on January 19, 2016

Artwork by Roger Ballas

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________________________________________________________________________

 

         United States’ Compliance with the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Kent State Truth Tribunal

Response to Follow-Up Report

4th Periodic Report of the United States

from the

110th Session of the Human Rights Committee, Geneva

March 2014

________________________________________________________________________

Read this report at the UN webpage http://bit.ly/1cxCnbY

1 May 2015

I.    Investigate & Examine the Kent State Audio Evidence

Seeking a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the Kent State audio recorded on May 4, 1970 during the Kent State Massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to freedom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly))

II.   Reporting Organization

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was founded in 2010 upon the emergence of new forensic evidence regarding the May 4, 1970 Kent State Massacre. KSTT is an NGO focused on revealing truth and bringing justice to Kent State Massacre victims and survivors.

Less than a day before her unlawful killing at Kent State University, Allison Krause said, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets”. On May 4, 1970 Allison Krause was shot dead by U.S. military personnel as she peacefully protested the American Vietnam War and stood for PEACE.

Representing Allison Beth Krause, 19-year-old Kent State University student protestor slain on May 4, 1970: Doris L. Krause, mother & Laurel Krause, sister.

III.  Related Concluding Recommendation of the Committee & the US Delegation’s Response:

At the US 4th Periodic Review on March 13, 2014, two UN Human Rights Committee members addressed the submitted issues of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Messrs. Walter Kaelin and Yuval Shany flagged the United States regarding the killing at Kent State in several expressed reasons including lack of accountability, concerns related to command responsibility, the use of excessive and deadly force by the military and law enforcement, and US investigatory practices when credible, forensic evidence emerges 40 years later.

The next day the US delegation offered:

We were asked about Kent State: In 1970 four students were killed, were murdered. Nine were wounded. In 1974 the US Department of Justice prosecuted eight of the officers involved in that. The Judge threw out that prosecution. There is nothing we can do now. Between double jeopardy and the statute of limitations, there is nothing we can do. We are aware that there are some who say there’s new evidence. We have looked at that new evidence and that new evidence does not make an unprosecutable case prosecutable.”

Even though the United States claimed Kent State was “murder and killing”, their recent April 1, 2015 response does not include any action taken with regard to the Kent State “unlawful killings”, as outlined in the March 2014 UNHRC concluding recommendations:

The party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in positions of command, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behaviour should also be established.”

The Kent State Truth Tribunal United Nations Reports:

February 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal UN Submission ~ http://bit.ly/1f2X25i

October 2013 KSTT Shadow Report ~ http://bit.ly/1kBSjfa

February 2014 KSTT Final Update ~ http://bit.ly/1ezn0cG

March 2014 KSTT Addresses the UN Human Rights Committee ~ http://bit.ly/1dgliTW

After the US 4th Periodic Human Rights Review at the United Nations, this tshirt design was created by artist Josh Starcher for the Kent State Truth Tribunal:

KSTT_Reunion13

RECOMMENDATION: The United States must examine forensic evidence of expert Stuart Allen’s digital analysis of the Kent State tape and acknowledge his findings.

IV.  US Unlawful Killings Require Acknowledgement, Credible Investigation & Accountability

When the United States Delegation said, “In 1970, four students were killed, was murdered”, the long held US position that the killings at Kent State were simply a ‘civil rights’ matter was extinguished forever.

Now that the deaths at Kent State have been acknowledged by the State as murder, US authorities are required to treat the Kent State recording as evidence from a cold case homicide, and the tape must be credibly, impartially and independently investigated as noted in the United Nations Human Rights Council from the 26th session on the “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, social and cultural rights’ mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions:

the obligation of all States to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to identify and to bring to justice those responsible, while ensuring the right of every person to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial measures, in order to bring an end to impunity and to prevent the recurrence of such executions, as stated in the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.”

The requirement for effective investigation includes acknowledgement of new evidence in accordance with international norms such as the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigations of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12(1991). http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/executioninvestigation-91.html#11

V.   The Current Instituted History of the Kent State Massacre Confuses, Censors and Obfuscates the May 4, 1970 Unlawful Killings

Instead of examining the Kent State tape that emerged in 2010, the US Justice Department has refuted the provenance of the tape, ignored the new evidence, confused what was discovered, discredited the forensic expert and censored the 2010 forensic findings in the Kent State tape. This behavior echoes the tremendous effort on the part of the US government, Kent State University and US Justice Department to hamper and derail efforts for restorative justice to be achieved and Kent State truth to be known by the public since May 4, 1970.

Back in 1979, after nine years of civil litigation, where Kent State plaintiffs sued for wrongful death (the only legal option in the American judicial system), an out-of-court civil settlement was reached, including $15,000 paid by the State for the death of Allison Krause and a statement of regret signed by the Kent State shooters.

Rediscovered on September 2014, was the Kent State Civil Settlement Statement of 1979, authored and signed by the plaintiffs, which shared the sentiments of all harmed in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. The Settlement Statement includes hard-fought-for recommendations to the US government that were patently ignored, never implemented and could have protected the lives of countless Americans.

Following the emergence of the new Kent State evidence, in 2012 Kent State University constructed a $1.1 million visitor center near the killing site. The visitor center exhibits are not factually accurate and whitewash US government complicity; the new Kent State tape evidence is buried, and when mentioned, criticized.

In 2011, forensic expert Stuart Allen was interviewed by CNN on his findings in the Kent State tape and until recently the interview was available to be viewed at CNN.com. This year Stuart Allen’s CNN Kent State interview was removed from the CNN website; watch the CNN scrubbed Stuart Allen interview on youtube.

Will we ever learn the truth of what happened at Kent State?

To date there have been no credible investigations into what occurred at Kent State. This is a terrible precedent. Americans still do not have access to true knowledge through credible investigation of what occurs when US law enforcement and the military kill civilians. The same, flawed US grand jury system only exonerates and protects the police and those in authority. There is no facility for redress in America. Instead victims and surviving families are encouraged to “move on” yet many survivors suffer from harassment by the FBI for many years to come.

RECOMMENDATION: In the coming days, the Kent State Truth Tribunal will be making application to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Execution, Mr. Christof Heyns. Mr. Heyns was recommended by Ms. Maria Clara Martin, Chief Americas Sections at the UN in March 2014.

VI.  Truth Tribunals: A New Standard for Citizen-Organized Accountability in America

When the courts fail to bring justice to the injured and when governments prefer to neglect their role in such tragedies, families sometimes turn to alternative means of gathering the truth. After years of exhausting efforts to find out what happened on the day of Allison’s death, and failure to receive any meaningful recognition for the injury suffered by our family, we established the Kent State Truth Tribunal on the 40th anniversary of the killings. We felt the imperative to do this for our family and to come together with others to create an accurate historical account of what occurred at Kent State, also honoring and preserving the first person narratives of original witnesses and participants.

When young Michael Brown was shot to death by US law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, Allison’s family watched the efforts of the United States to investigation Michael Brown’s unlawful killing, especially noting the parallels between Michael’s killing and Allison’s.

First a State grand jury was instituted and at the conclusion, those in authority failed to bring criminal charges for killing and exonerated US law enforcement. We recognized the similarities in the government’s handling of the killings at Kent State. The results were almost identical with the State grand jury not capable of indicting the police officer that shot Michael dead. Those in authority in Ferguson and at the US Justice Department viewed the killing of Michael Brown through a ‘civil rights’ lens, outrageously ignoring the much more critical crime involved in Michael’s killing by US law enforcement.

Ever since August 2014, deaths of people of color, particularly young people, at the hands of US law enforcement, have been dealt with as civil rights issues, neglecting to hold anyone accountable for the State killing civilians. In America there is no recourse, nor any other judicial avenue, no possibility for redress for acts of State-sponsored murder.

It has become clear that accountability is impossible in the current American judicial system. Because of the flawed system and since the witnesses and participants of civilian death by US law enforcement at Ferguson (Cleveland, Baltimore and more) will not have their truth recorded, known or honored, we wish to offer the use of the Truth Tribunal methodology to enable a citizen-organized campaign for accountability in these situations.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks direction and support from the United Nations in offering the facility of citizen-organized Truth Tribunals to those harmed by State-sponsored, unlawful killings in America. Our goal is for the KSTT and the United Nations to work together to bring restorative justice and accountability to the United States. How may we get started?

VII.  The Allison Center for Peace

Later in 2015 we will be inaugurating the Allison Center for Peace, a peace destination in America, creating an environment for the discussion and development of peaceful solutions, and focused on fostering peace in America.

As we form our center for peace in America, we invite the United Nations to become involved as a founding partner.

RECOMMENDATION: The Kent State Truth Tribunal wishes to explore an on-going relationship with the United Nations in the development of the Allison Center for Peace on the Mendocino coast of Northern California.

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