Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today in Brooklyn: May 4, 1970: Brooklyn College reacts to Kent State

We've been keeping a daily diary since August 1969. Here is our diary for Monday, May 4, 1970, when we were 18 and in our first year as an undergrad at Brooklyn College. We were in the final weeks of the spring semester and had just been appointed one of the elections commissioners in the BC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS, daytime undergraduate) student government elections scheduled in a couple of weeks.

We heard the news about the Kent State kilings in the middle of writing this entry, probably from our mom or brothers. The fourth word of this entry, "tragedy," is inserted with a caret because when we began writing it, we were unaware of the news.

We'll post follow-up Kent State-related diary entries in coming days.

Monday, May 4, 1970

A day of [tragedy], hard work and things blowing in the wind. I got to the office to help Paul in getting out the petitions to the various candidates and giving them assistance. Some people I know are running: Rod Cleghorn, Mark Moskovitz, Mitch Pasin, Ralph D. Greenberg, others. I'm getting to know a lot of the people in Student Government, even the candidates for President and V.P.: Alan Ullman, Morris Westfried, Esther Yee, Marty Orland.

I was exhausted by lunchtime, but attended a rally. Pres. Kneller cancelled classes from 11-2 tomorrow in protest over the new escalation
[the invasion of Cambodia]. Some students are planning a strike, and I, for one, hope it comes to pass.

In Psych, we saw a film about behavioral therapy with psychotic children. I cut English and went to SUBO and had a coke with Janet. In Science, Prof. Levine discussed chromosomes and DNA.

I just learned that 4 students, 2 of them girls, were shot to death at an antiwar rally at Kent State U. in Ohio by National Guardsmen. This makes me so depressed and angry I can't express myself very well. Repression is setting in, the stock market is tumbling, and the killing in Asia goes on, and nobody seems to care. . .

This week and next are going to be hectic, especially checking the petitions on Wednesday evening.

The New York Times, which featured the Kent State killings on the May 5, 1970 front page, also had a May 5 story inside written before the shooting, "Antiwar Strike Plans in the Colleges Pick Up Student and Faculty Support," by Linda Charlton, which had Monday (pre-Kent State) reports from Yale, Columbia, Rutgers, NYU and CUNY and included this:
At Brooklyn College the student government voted to stage a strike tomorrow. A noon rally was attended by 300 students and the topics discussed included "the failure of open admissions," the Black Panthers, the fee structure and the war."

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