A Long Way From Plymouth Rock


Guardsmen walk off Blanket Hill at Kent State University as civilians come to the aid of one of the wounded after the shootings on May 4, 1970.


 If anything symbolizes the turn in “official” heritage from tangible monuments to intangible significance, the recent inscription of the 1970 Kent State shootings during an anti-Vietnam protest on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places has to be one of the clearest signs of a change in attitude.      

All there is there is a solitary “pagoda,” some sidewalks, and a great expanse of grass.  It isn’t the architectural history that makes this place significant.  It is the significance that makes this place a site of heritage.      

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From Ohio.com:      

Kent State shootings site added to National Register of Historic Places

The site of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, has been a local landmark for nearly 40 years — attracting scores of visitors annually.      

Now it is officially a national historic site.      

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office announced today that the site has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.      

Franco Ruffini, deputy state historic preservation officer, said the site made the National Register because of its ”significance to national history.”      

Four students died and nine students were wounded when Ohio National Guardsmen fired into a crowd of people during a protest of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.      


Two students walk past the spot where Ohio National Guard troops fired on student anti-war protesters. AP Photo/Tony Dejak


The historic site includes 17.24 acres of the KSU campus comprising three areas: the Commons, Blanket Hill and the Southern Terrace. It covers the areas where the guardsmen, student protesters and observers moved from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 4, 1970.      

”What happened here at Kent State was historic, and it’s appropriate that it receives this special designation,” said Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton in a prepared statement. ”The National Register recognizes those places that are significant in American history and culture, and the May 4 site definitely qualifies for this recognition.”      

For full article click here.


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