(Photo Courtesy of the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University)

            In this photograph from August 31, 1974, campers are sleeping outside of their tent, with Cleveland’s iconic Terminal Tower in the background, waiting for a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young concert to start.[1] Similar to the photograph of the 1972 concert at Edgewater Park, the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played a large role in advocating for social justice after the events at Kent State on May 4, 1970. Their iconic song “Ohio” was recorded a couple of weeks after the event, and the mood in the recording studio was described as ‘intense’.[2] In addition, many of the lyrics in the song were extremely poignant and addressing social issues of the time. The beginning of the song starts with the lyrics, “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming”[3], which is a direct criticism towards Richard Nixon’s policies and the soldiers who participated in the event.

This event left a lasting impact not only on the collective memory of Northeast Ohioans, but also on the collective memory of America. After the event, the Ohio National Guard issued a ‘declaration of regret’, saying that, “In retrospect, the tragedy of May 4, 1970 should not have occurred.”[4] In addition, according to an aide of President Richard Nixon, the events of May 4, 1970, “…had a direct impact on national politics.”[5] It also, according to one of his top aides, began the slide for Richard Nixon into Watergate.[6]

[1]Cleveland Memory Project, “Campers waiting for a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young concert”, Cleveland State University, http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/press/id/13248/rec/1.

[2]Ivan Sheehan, “The Story of “Ohio””, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, https://www.rockhall.com/story-ohio.

[3]Ivan Sheehan, “The Story of Ohio”.

[4]Jerry Lewis and Thomas Hensley, “The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy”, Kent State University, https://www.kent.edu/may-4-historical-accuracy.

[5]Jerry Lewis and Thomas Hensley, “The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy”.

[6]Jerry Lewis and Thomas Hensley, “The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy”.

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