'May 4th Voices: Kent State 1970'

May 1, 2020

"May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970" produced by WKSU, the Wick Poetry Center, and Kent State University.
Credit WKSU/PRX

The 67 shots that rang out at Kent State amid a May 4,1970 Vietnam War protest, killing four students and wounding nine, reverberate nearly 50 years later. Many historians see the shootings as the moment America turned, finally and forcefully, against the war.

The radio play "May 4th Voices" features first-person narratives and reactions to events leading up to, during, and after the tragic shooting.  Author David Hassler, using the Kent State Shootings: Oral Histories project's over 1200 pages of transcripts, assembled accounts from townspeople, students, protesters, faculty, National Guardsmen, and others to provide diverse viewpoints from those most intimately affected at Kent State and the surrounding community. The play was originally staged on the Kent State campus on May 2, 2010 for the 40th commemoration and was published by "The Kent State University Press" in 2012.

Twenty-two professional actors, including Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Ron West, Steve Byrne, and more, all with a connection to Kent either through their degrees, as faculty, or other association, have come together under the direction of Joe Gunderman, national voice artist and WKSU’s senior producer, to bring these eyewitness accounts to life. "May 4th Voices" is produced by WKSU, the Wick Poetry Center, and Kent State UniversityListen Sunday, May 3 at 7 p.m. on WRVO, on-air and online.