The four students on the left were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970. They are (top left) Allison B. Krause, 19; (top middle) Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20; (bottom middle) Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20; (bottom left) and William Knox Schroeder, 19
James Earl Green, 17, (bottom) and Phillip L. Gibbs, 21, (top) were killed by police at Jackson State College in Mississippi on May 15, 1970.
When people have gathered for events for Community Grand Rounds: Healing the Trauma of Racism in southwest Michigan, they have sometimes been surprised at what history has taught us – or NOT taught us. Many participants did not know, for example, about the Tulsa, Oklahoma, massacre of black citizens in 1921. And it was a surprise to most during a book discussion to learn that the GI Bill, that heralded post-World War II boost into the middle class for millions of ex-soldiers and their families, largely excluded African Americans.
In this nuanced piece on the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, killings at Kent State University, Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor and contributing writer to The New Yorker, argues, among other things, that American history has largely overlooked the black students and protesters killed by police at Jackson State, just 11 days after Kent State, and elsewhere in the 1960s
History might not be the first thing we think of when considering how to undertake the huge job of healing racism. But it does play a part – an important part.
History might not be the first thing we think of when considering how to undertake the huge job of healing racism. But it does play a part – an important part. An honest understanding of history can help heal the trauma of racism by confronting the reality of how we got to where we are, and by helping us to see past and current events through a new, and more realistic, lens.