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Fifty Years Ago: The Kent State Shootings

On this day in 1970, National Guard soldiers opened fire on unarmed anti-Vietnam war protesters at Kent State University in Ohio. Demonstrations began on campus on May 1, following President Nixon’s announcement of US military operations in the neutral country of Cambodia. Four students were killed, nine wounded, and the country was forever changed. In the days following the shooting, student-led protests erupted in schools, universities, and public spaces in Chicago and across the country. 

The photojournalists of the Chicago Sun-Times documented the city’s response, and their images are now part of the Museum’s Chicago Sun-Times Photograph Collection, one of the largest newspaper photograph collections ever acquired by an American museum. See more images

Vigil in front of the Equitable Building at 401 North Michigan Avenue for the four students killed at Kent State, Chicago, May 6, 1970. ST-13002836-0002, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM

The Chicago History Museum’s Chicago Sun-Times Photograph Collection comprises more than 5 million images spanning over seventy-five years. These images document monumental events and everyday occurrences of life in urban America, many of which were never published. In addition to preserving and inventorying the images, the Museum will digitize and make accessible a substantial portion of them over the next several years. An initial batch of images can be viewed now at CHM Images. Explore the images.

Student rally at Civic Center following Kent State shootings, May 9, 1970. ST-13002854-0007, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
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