Friday, May 6, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1941


Evanston, Illinois (JFK+50) Forty-six years ago today, May 6, 1970, thousands of students across the United States joined in protest against the war in Vietnam following President Richard M. Nixon's announcement of April 25 to expand the war into Cambodia and the killing of four students by National Guard troops at Kent State University on May 4.

Northwestern University Archives describes the protests as a "watershed moment in the history of student activism at Northwestern" which culminated in a student-led strike lasting from May 5 through May 12, 1970.

The strikers demanded...

an end to the war in Southeast Asia
barring campus security from carrying firearms
opening university stock portfolios & eliminating war stocks
removal academic credit for ROTC
conversion of ROTC facilities into child care centers

At the University of North Carolina, there were attempts to turn the student protests toward violence, but as professor John Dixon told the North Carolina congressional delegation...

"the students themselves controlled their own rage and the rhetoric of the radicals and have concentrated their attention on the real issue."

Nationwide 536 campuses were shut down completely.  The student anti-war protests were not without repercussions.  On May 8, 1970, New York City workers attacked student protesters during a demonstration and rioted for two hours.

The anti-war protests, however, brought to the attention of the nation the widespread opposition to the war and contributed to the eventual removal of American military forces from Vietnam in 1973.


"Guide to the Anti-Vietnam-War Strike Materials," June 31, 1988,

"Vietnam War Protests,"

Vietnam War Protest
Washington, D.C.
October 21, 1967
Photo by Frank Wolfe
NARA Image