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Posts Tagged ‘Laurel 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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by Laurel Krause, June 22, 2019

Last month on May 22, 2019 we witnessed a significant ‘turning of the tide’ for Kent State truth in the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre.

This year, just a few days after a peaceful, healing 49th anniversary of Kent State on May 8, 2019, I awakened to a riveting facebook message from colleague Mike Alewitz, an eyewitness of the massacre at Kent State saying, “Unbelievable. The f*cking CIA is organizing the 50th.”

Searching on facebook I discovered a leak that retired 27-year CIA operative Stephanie D. Smith, now a professor at Kent State University, had been quietly announced as KSU President Beverly Warren’s choice for Chair of the 50th commemoration coming up on May 4, 2020 and managing the $2million budget for the Kent State 50th.

Since none of us had ever heard of Ms. Smith, I searched for and found Smith’s Kent State University backgrounder with a CIA photo headshot http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR, describing her decades of PR experience in re-messaging torture at Abu Ghraib among other scandals. From what we’ve been able to piece together, Smith has worked at high levels with CIA leads and the State Dept. to assist the current director of the CIA, Gina Haspel and ex-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, exiting the Agency around 2008. Smith completed her undergraduate work at Kent State University in 1979. Unfortunately Smith never attended or expressed any interest in the Kent State massacre commemorations when she was a student from 1975-79.

Even though leadership at Kent State University savored their choice for the 50th chair, CIA Smith’s appointment was more of a stunning slap in the face to every protester who stood for peace and against the Vietnam War. Alewitz said, “This appointment is a travesty and an insult to all those that seek peace and social justice.” http://bit.ly/2JyADEA It is widely known the CIA was the most rogue and vicious contributor to Vietnam war crimes, now wholly focused on re-writing their crimes, re-messaged their war, before, during and after, a key aim of the CIA in covering their tracks.

Digging into press accounts we found Smith had a checkered background involving sexual escapades with her CIA boss http://bit.ly/2E80orb during her “happy” 30-year marriage http://bit.ly/2YpN7ll to another CIA operative http://bit.ly/2JyADEA, and then later turning to Mormonism http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C.

Back to our story and little victory, while Alewitz actively protested Smith’s appointment, his facebook posts were picked up by Russell Mokhiber and reported at Common Dreams. READ: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

As uproar over Smith’s appointment made it to national news, Kent State University’s response was tone deaf … a response we have witnessed from the University since the 1970 massacre. At a Kent State insider’s page on facebook, the ‘Kent May 4 Movement Community Forum,’ we read complaints there wasn’t any ‘Organized Opposition’ to Ms. Smith’s appointment and it got us thinking.

Many folks were very upset by Smith’s appointment yet there was no way for us to respond. Kent State University was going to do whatever it wished whether we liked it or not … yet that wasn’t going to work for us any longer.

On May 14, just shy of one week after the leaked announcement to put the CIA in charge of the 50th, in protest we launched our Email Blast. The idea was to create an ‘organized opposition’ to Smith’s announcement by sending protest emails to KSU President Beverly Warren.

On facebook I asked folks against Smith’s appointment to send me their email address. In return I emailed them easy to follow instructions that encouraged quick turnaround by sending KSU President Warren a protest email.

Within hours of launching our campaign, we heard from inside sources that Warren’s email box was exploding from our Email Blast and that leadership at KSU was “annoyed.” We sent instructions to ~300 recipients against the appointment and most of them made their voices heard.

Kent State stood up for Smith by offering, “She’s such a nice person and her students love her. Have you met her?” and “How can you be against her when you don’t know her?” They didn’t understand that our concerns were not personal and we were not wishing to engage in ad hominem character assassinations.

Eight days after launching our Email Blast, on May 22, 2019 Stephanie D. Smith stepped down from chair. READ Mohkiber’s follow-up Common Dreams article http://bit.ly/2VWfWsZ. Kent State refuses to share how many emails President Warren received.

***

A month later, even though Smith has stepped down, she’s still there. Smith is rewriting the legacy of my sister Allison Krause, along with Dr. Mindy Farmer http://bit.ly/2VADpj5 who worked for five years at the Nixon library before her recruitment to run the May 4 Visitor Center at Kent State. READ about Farmer’s tribute to Allison http://bit.ly/2zKXPYW.

Perusing the roster of people at Kent State managing the 50th, we have uncovered that Eric Mansfield http://bit.ly/2Vx22gN was a 20-year careerist in the Ohio National Guard, before becoming Executive Director of Media at Kent State University. Mansfield will lead all Kent State 50th PR and announcements.

In 2019 representatives of those responsible for manufacturing the Kent State massacre are now running the 50th: the CIA, President Nixon and the Ohio National Guard.

Even though Smith no longer chairs the 50th, Smith is still there with Farmer and Mansfield, making sure the story of the Kent State massacre is exactly as the US government and Kent State University wish … and they’re blocking organizations like ours, the Kent State Truth Tribunal from any meaningful participation in the Kent State 50th commemoration.

Where are the representatives of those who stood for peace at Kent State? Will the peaceful protesters who were present on May 4, 1970 have a voice at the Kent State 50th? With Kent State University in charge, truth and peace will not be in their remembrance of the Kent State massacre.

Please add your name, sign the Kent State 50th “Letter of Dissent” http://bit.ly/2m8zHfL. Thank you.

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April 7, 2019 by Laurel Krause

UnitedNationsMarch2014DakwarKrause

Image by Emilia Bolin Ransom, 2014

Delighted to announce the Kent State Truth Tribunal’s United Nations submission has been included in the ‘List of Issues’ before the U.N. Human Rights Committee and will be considered at the United Nations U.S. 5th periodic review. This will be the second time Kent State massacre issues are heard before the United Nations. 🌺

For the United States 5th periodic review, the human rights issues of the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre relate to state acts to restrict the right to protest (topic 14) and concerns for limiting excessive use of force by law enforcement (under freedom of assembly and association, topic 25). READ the U.S. ‘List of Issues’ related to the ICCPR Treaty: http://bit.ly/2I2oEOV

The United States has one year to respond to the U.N. List of Issues for the U.S. 5th periodic review yet the U.S. has historically taken its sweet time in complying with standard procedures. The U.S. 4th periodic review was supposed to convene in Geneva in October 2013 yet had to be postponed to March 2014 due to the U.S. government shutdown.

Read the 2015 Kent State Truth Tribunal report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee: http://bit.ly/1KTBGsI

This photo is from the Kent State Truth Tribunal’s first visit to the United Nations in 2014 for the U.S. 4th periodic review with Jamil Dakwar and Laurel Krause.

The Allison Center for Peace Gaia Action Network Peaceful Party

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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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Burt Cohen and Laurel Krause discuss the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre and the February 14, 2018 Parkland Massacre in this February 27, 2018 segment from Keeping Democracy Alivehttp://bit.ly/2oCRCsv

February 20, 2018 by Laurel Krause

My sister Allison was shot and killed in a domestic US military massacre during a lunch time antiwar protest at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Allison was 19 years old when she was targeted for assassination. Her spirit reminds us the most heinous of all massacres is when those killed are defenseless young people at their schools.

On the phone last week with my colleague, Emily Aigner Kunstler, Emily told me the news of the 17 massacred, 15 injured, at a high school in Parkland, Florida. I heard her words but wasn’t able to really take them in. I found it hard to react. After all, it was the 18th gun-related incident at an American school since the beginning of 2018, and is now just about an every other day occurrence in the United States of Gun Violence.

Later, as I watched the TV reporting of the mayhem and the lives lost, it struck home with me that I know the horror of how this feels, especially to the families personally hurt.

I know what those grieving 17 families have been going through since their Valentine’s Day. Loss beyond words. Hurt beyond description. A feeling that nothing will change and no one will come to their aid to make change. The needlessness of the deaths staring you in the face. The flower of youth snuffed out by America’s inability to CURB THE URGE to kill and massacre with legal firearms.

I know that after the dust settles, to those killed and their families, it won’t matter who did the killing … whether it was a disturbed individual, a white supremacist, the military or law enforcement. Their children are no longer alive. The hopes and wishes for what those young people might have become are too painful to acknowledge. The family lives of those harmed will never be the same.

After the dust settles, will there be healing? Will our culture demand amends be made? With the NRA running every show in our government, the answers are … there will be no healing, there will be no amends made, there will only be more trauma.

Our society easily forgets that the children are the future jewels and dreams of what our culture may become. A society that kills its children, and refuses restorative justice for all involved in massacres, is no longer a caring, protective culture. Instead, it is a culture that honors the almighty dollar, enabling massacres with guns for war over the lives of its young.

When American TV audiences are exposed to continuous footage of massacres (and being told to watch it by TV pundits), we all become a little less feeling.

As Baby Boomers, the affects of the Kent State and Jackson State massacres happened to all of us … not just my family or those who were killed or wounded. All the young people alive back then remember in detail their story as to how those massacres affected them for the rest of their lives. How they were severely changed by the murders … how ever since they haven’t been able to trust their government.

But our government and leaders refuse healing. There is no recognition of these traumas as nationwide traumas. The wounds stack up over a lifetime in peace-loving folks, one massacre at a time.

Will Parkland massacre survivors be sought to share their accounts of the trauma? Will they be formally acknowledged, honored, given a voice or a way to make amends, find their healing? That’s what I want for them. These children deserve their healing. Hell, we all do!

Massacres DEMAND healing and for amends to made. The damaging effects and traumas do not go away. The blood of these young martyrs seeps into the land where it stays forever, a kind of curse on us all for not protecting our children.

WILL AMERICA EVER LEARN TO HEAL & MAKE AMENDS?

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Kent State University, May 4, 2017 by Pat LaMarche

Good Afternoon. I’d like to thank May 4th Task Force for having me here with you today.

It is my great and solemn honor to speak to you today.

I was an unusually politically aware nine-year-old kid, trying to make sense of a country spinning out of control, when the federalized troops of the Ohio National Guard opened fire here, at Kent State.

See, when I was growing up, my dad had strict rules about television watching. On school nights the only tv we could watch, was the news. Hind sight being what it is, I probably should have been allowed to watch I Dream of Jeannie or The Munsters and thereby skipped the nightly diet of poverty, race riots and war.

I look back and remember sitting in front of a black and white tv, at truths too upsetting for living color. As the decades have gone by, the contrast has been turned up on the black and white reality that poured out at me each night. I look back now at moments that get more vivid as details emerge. As a journalist, I’m grateful that these stories continue to evolve.

Because of my parents’ news rules, I grew up watching the Vietnam War unfold. I grew up watching civil rights showdowns. I grew up knowing that all too often brute force was the solution to – well – to everything.

One of those school nights when I sat down to watch tv was May 4th 1970. I remember being horrified, confused, disbelieving. I remember being frightened. I better remember my mom, once again hunched over at our kitchen table, grieving – as she had when Martin Luther King Jr. and then Bobby Kennedy were shot.

There was no shortage of black and white tragedy shaping my world. The citizenry used brute force on each other. My government used brute force in foreign countries. Police forces and sheriff’s departments used billy clubs, fire hoses and dogs on protesters. And then, at Kent State, the federal government used brute force on privileged white college kids.

Kent State shocked violence weary white America like nothing before had.

Everyone paying attention to the news in 1970 knew two things. Before Kent State, you had to fit into a couple of categories in order to get killed. You had to be famous. You had to have put yourself out there. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X.

Or you had to be some nosey do-gooder looking for trouble in the deep south, like, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

But, if by some chance you were some innocent by stander, well then you had to be black.

Kent State changed all that. Kent State threatened privileged Americans. White draft deferred college kids could be killed just walking to class.

But there was another frightening distinction at Kent State.

Before Kent State, trigger happy police departments killed protestors – as was the case when the South Carolina highway patrol perpetrated the Orangeburg massacre. But at Kent State, in full violation of the United States Constitution, the U.S. military opened fire on the American people. Tanks rolled into town. Check points were set up. And U.S. Army forces terrorized the populace.

Yesterday, on our way into Kent, we detoured and stopped at the Robinson Memorial hospital now University Hospital. That’s where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer along with other victims went after being shot. That’s where their parents went to identify their children’s bodies. I’ll be writing a piece for my page at the Huffington Post later this week, and you’ll be able to see the short video we made in the hallway where 15-year-old Laurel Krause stood waiting for her parents to identify her dead sister.

As we left, I thanked the woman volunteering at the front desk. Ruby’s her name and she’s 73. I asked her if she remembered the Kent State shootings. She did. Her oldest child went to a local grade school, until the national guard took it over as a military occupation outpost. She had twin two year olds. Late in the day on May 4th she realized she had no milk in the house. She got in her car and headed for the market only to be stopped at a military checkpoint. She told me that the guardsman trained his rifle at her and demanded to know where she was going. She had the kids in the car. She pointed to them and said, “I’m going to get my babies some milk.”

May 4, 1970 was a bad day. That’s how Ruby remembers it. That’s how we all should remember it.

I’d like to take a moment and congratulate Kent State University on their long – now completed march – toward their National Landmark designation. Last October, I had the distinct honor of escorting Mary Vecchio to the public hearing hosted by the National Park Landmark Commission. The photograph of Mary – a teenage runaway – her arms outstretched, kneeling over Jeffrey Miller’s body became the image of Kent State for a long time.

It was an image the school desperately wanted to shake.

Many of you know that. If you attended yesterday’s panel discussion about the National Landmark designation, you know that the university wanted to forget the shootings ever happened. By 1977 enrollment was down, and the school – perhaps rightfully – thought that people didn’t want to send their kids to a place where kids got killed.

Kent wanted a new image. What better way to say, Kent State focuses on a healthy living student body, then with a new gym?

But instead of dulling the memory of Kent State, the effort to build a gym invigorated it. Survivors returned to campus. Aggrieved parents returned to the scene where their precious children died. And while strong arm tactics such as tear gas were used again on the students, deadly force was not.

Nixon was gone. J Edgar Hoover was gone. Months earlier Jimmy Carter had pardoned the young men who protested the war by fleeing the country and the draft. The country wanted to heal.

This is the 40th anniversary of that gym protest and as such the discussion this year has taken a slight turn from the killing and injuring of 13 students to the wanton disregard for history and the conscious desire to obliterate if not blur the scene of the crime.

When I brought Mary Vecchio to those hearings it was because she too felt that the story wasn’t complete. Mary’s story, Ruby’s story, that are all a part of the Kent State story. Nixon’s scorched earth policy of killing students, terrifying young moms on an errand to get milk, illegally bombing foreign nations gave way to trees planted on a hillside, a new gymnasium, ugly attacks Allison Krause’s reputation, imprisoning Mary Vecchio in reform school.

This past October, the historians at the National Park Service public forum, agreed with Mary Vecchio. They discussed at great length and with great respect the value of eyewitness accounts. They urged Kent State to include as many of them as possible.

Sometimes human nature gets the better of us. We shy away from people who make a fuss. Who show their anger. Consequently, some historians and institutions want sanitized history. Just the bare bones that can be independently confirmed, not all that fleshy humanity that gives an historic event it’s depth, it’s color, it’s warmth. Historians can shy away from eyewitness accounts because humans sometimes have funny ways of remembering things. Memories are colored by emotions, past experiences, subsequent tragic consequences.

The landmark commission reminded Kent State that they can have both. They can have the historic skeleton of verifiable facts and they can have the raw emotion that rips through the heart of a murder victims’ father. With so many living eye witnesses, Kent State can compile a vibrant historiography to accompany their memorials in the parking lot.

What Mary remembered so vividly, the shattered glass from car windows, Allison Krause’s foaming last attempts to speak, Jeffrey Millers blood running like a stream away from his body, they are vivid and they are real and they are every bit as sacred to the story of Kent State as the pagoda where the soldiers turned and fired.

You want to know the history of human rights in the United States? Then you need to know about the FBI manhunt for Mary Vecchio. You need to know that the governor of Florida blamed her for the deaths of her friends. You need to know everything you can possibly know about everyone shot at that day and the community in which they lived. And when their stories are included, then Kent State, your historic landmark will have preserved history and not just in black and white, but in real living color.

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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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