. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Discussion on Protests – May 12, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
45 years ago, May of 1970 was a month of upheaval, triggered by the events of expansion of the War in Vietnam to include Cambodia. The mass protests which resulted on campuses all over the country, and the violence that left several students dead at Kent and Jackson State Universities, and the polarization throughout the country over a war many thought would never end.
But it prompted other issues – the deep divisions between the haves and have-nots – the unbalance within our social and economic systems. The claims that many saw the institutions of higher learning as hotbeds of radicalism, and that protests were largely the result of students who used these places of higher learning as a springboard to question the system.
These issues had been festering for a while; years, in fact. But it took the events at Kent State, and the reminder that Jackson State represented the racial divide in our country, to bring these issues to the forefront.
And so much of the Spring of 1970 was devoted to examinations, discussions, appraisals and protest. Whether the events at Kent and Jackson State prompted a change in perspective or a need for continued dialogue remained to be seen. Whether those events at Kent and Jackson state caused a reappraisal of our College system is something that’s been speculated considerably in recent years – as one wonders why Colleges are becoming prohibitive and schools in general are places of neglect.
As those at the time wondered if change was possible or if it ever would be. In 2015 we ask ourselves the same thing.
Here is a discussion, between Commentator and Journalist Edwin Newman and a group of College Students, most of them were activists at the time – and they run the spectrum from Radical leftist to Extreme Conservative, all stating their views on the political situation as it stood in May of 1970.
It’s an hour, and it’s eye-opening – and one wonders if such a discussion could be possible today.
At the end, Edwin Newman remarks that he hoped the discussion did some good. 45 years later, we’re still hoping.