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

This unidentified concert from May 20, 1972 at Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio, is a perfect example of social justice within a larger context.[1] With the Vietnam War raging on, activists and protestors demanding social justice adopted Rock n’ Roll as the music of rebellion, particularly in an area sensitive to the suppression of the right to protest. Just two years prior, there was disaster only 45 minutes away from Cleveland, in Kent, Ohio. On May 4, 1970, 77 National Guardsmen marched on anti-war protests being held by Kent State University students.[2] 29 of those National Guardsmen opened fire on the protestors, with this action resulting in four students dying and nine getting wounded.[3] In addition to this, two of the students who died were not even protestors.[4]

In addition to this, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Northeast Ohio native Chrissie Hynde was present at the time of the shootings.[5] When asked about the protests, her story is chilling. “…I pushed my way through the crowd…. Then I heard the tatatatatatatatatat sound. I thought it was fireworks. An eerie silence fell over the common.”[6]

[1]Cleveland Memory Project, “Rock concert at Edgewater Park”, Cleveland State University, http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/press/id/13564/rec/2.

[2]Ohio History Central, “Kent State Shootings”, Ohio History Connection, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Kent_State_Shootings.

[3]Ohio History Central, “Kent State Shootings”.

[4]Ohio History Central, “Kent State Shootings”.

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

[6]Ivan Sheehan, “The Story of Ohio””.