Campus Strike Papers

In the spring of 1970, there was a significant amount of unrest on college and university campuses due to the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1970, President Nixon announced that the U.S. would expand its campaign into Cambodia, increasing the tension. On May 4, 1970, four students were killed, and nine others wounded when Ohio Army National Guardsmen opened fire on demonstrators at Kent State University. Eleven days later, on May 15, 1970, city and state police fired on demonstrators at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University), killing two students and injuring twelve. All over the country, massive student demonstrations and strikes followed, in response to both the war and the shootings. While many citizens of the American public sided with the National Guard and law enforcement, the student reaction against the violence grew stronger and ultimately led to the closing of many colleges and universities from coast to coast. Countless campus assemblies and strikes resulted in flyers, newsletters, newspapers, and correspondence reflecting the conditions and sentiments of a portion of the American student body, faculty, and administrative officials at this time. In the aftermath of the shootings, Kent State University Libraries sent letters to colleges and universities across the nation requesting that they send examples of documents related to the national student strikes (or “strike papers”). Many institutions responded to this call for archival documentation by sending, in most cases, photocopies or extra copies of materials from their campuses.