Wednesday, March 31, 2010

40 Years Ago: Kent State and Jackson State Massacres

May 4, 2010 will mark the 40th anniversary of the firing by Ohio National Guard troops of 67 shots on the campus of Kent State University, after the Guard broke up a student anti-war rally there. As a result of this shooting, four Kent State students were killed and nine students were wounded. Ten days after the Kent State massacre, two African-Americans (Phillip Gibbs and James Green) were killed and 12 were wounded on the campus of Jackson State College on Mississippi, after local police started firing near a student dormitory. Following the Kent State and Jackson State massacres, many U.S. campuses were simultaneously shut down for the rest of the month by mass student protests.

The Kent State massacre came to be symbolized by a photograph of Jeff Miller's dead body, beneath the tortured face of a long-haired woman with outstretched arms. Miller had grown up on Long Island. According to The Kent State Coverup by Joseph Keiner and James Munves:

"Jeff Miller had transferred to Kent State in Jan. 1970, just four months before he was killed. He was a gregarious young man...He had gone to Woodstock and suddenly adopted the youth culture of the late 1960s, wearing a fringed jacket, beads, and headband and spending long hours in his room practicing on the drums.

"His mother saw him off to Kent State an the end of the winter-break, just before his 20th birthday at the end of March..."

After Miller was killed by the Ohio National Guard troops, an Ohio National Guard captain apparently planted a gun on Miller's dead body so the troops could claim they shot Miller in self-defense.

(Downtown 4/19/95)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

40th Anniversary of Fred Hampton's Murder

Dec. 4, 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Illinois Black Panther Party [BPP] leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago. The 1993 book Still Black, Still Strong noted that Hampton and Clark were "murdered in Chicago by police raiders from State Attorney's Office, in cooperation with the FBI," "Hampton, 21, was drugged beforehand by an agent provocateur who had infiltrated the BPP," and "Clark, 22, was killed as he answered a knock on the apartment door." In the same book, an interview with Dhoruba Bin Wahad appeared, in which the former New York Black Panther Party leader recalled:

"At first it was reported that it was a shoot-out between the Black Panthers and the police, and the police were just defending themselves. But subsequently it was found out that there was only one shot fired by the Black Panther Party members who were in the house...So Fred Hampton's murder became the clearest example of the escalation of the repression of the Black Panther Party."

In an April 27, 1969 speech, Hampton had reminded his audience that "you can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution" and "you can murder a liberator, but you can't murder liberation."

(Downtown 11/23/94)