Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today in Brooklyn: May 5, 1970: Brooklyn College reacts to Kent State

From our diary:
Tuesday, May 5, 1970

A rough day, but these are rough times. When I arrived on campus at 9:00, picket lines were up at every entrance and I knew things were coming. Everyone was furious and bewildered over the Kent State shootings.

I was alternately in my office working and attending the biggest rally I've ever seen at the college. I didn't want to leave the office for too long as the nutty Ricki Morgan (chief virgin on campus) was the only one there.

A strike was called, and although Dr. Kneller called off classes for two hours, he wouldn't support a strike. Suddenly, after the rally, the President's office was taken - there was little resistance.

I walked up there and heard a student tell Kneller, "Sometimes you've got to stick your neck out." The President replied, "If you don't think I'm sticking my neck out, you're crazy."

I called home from Dr. Kneller's phone, stood on his balcony, pilfered some stationery and sat at his desk. It was unbelievable - just like what I've read about it.

I went back to the office and talked and rested with José and Esther Yee, who's a dedicated radical, and I'm going to vote for her and her black running-mate Pamela Craig, although they have no chance. I know so many people now and everybody knows me, even the president of the student body, Phil Greenberg.

Strikes are on at most city colleges and all over the country, too. "Avenge the Kent State 4" was written all over campus. The country is getting out of Nixon's control. Things are very weird.

1 comment:

Mark Mori said...

For the best eye witness accounts of the Kent State shootings by various Kent students and national guardsmen who shot students, check out the Emmy Award winning documentary, "Kent State, The Day the War Cam Home." It was just released on DVD for the upcoming 40th anniversary. In its review of the program, The Hollywood Reporter stated, "This extraordinary hour long doc is so good, so well constructed, that it can't help but leave viewers feeling as if they themselves were on the bloody scene of the Kent State carnage..." for more go to