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WYSO To Mark 50th Anniversary Of Kent State Massacre With Special Program From Antioch College Alum

Michael Goldfarb was a second year student at Antioch College during the Kent State massacre.
courtesy of Michael Goldfarb

May 4th 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kent State massacre in Ohio. On that Monday, Michael Goldfarb was a second year student at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a three hour drive from Kent.  By the end of the week he and hundreds of other college students, were being tear gassed in front of the White House, in Washington, DC.

For Goldfarb, the shootings  and the days and weeks that followed were a turning point in his life and also in the history of political activism in the US. By creating the conditions that would inevitably lead to the shootings at Kent (and at Jackson State, a historically black college in Mississippi, ten days later) Goldfarb says, a message was sent by the US government - you can protest this far and no further. We will kill you.

Goldfarb believes that, over the decades, the shootings at Kent State affected expressions of activism in this country.

Four Dead in Ohio is his audio documentary about the Kent State shooting and aftermath. Using archive sound recorded on that day in 1970 , Goldfarb recreates the atmosphere in America that day. He interviews survivors and asks them how the tragedy has affected their lives and their political beliefs.

Today Michael Goldfarb is an independent journalist based in London, England
courtesy of Michael Goldfarb

He also examines the subsequent history of activism in America and wonders: since the Million Women March the day after Donald Trump's inauguration, which activists have risked jail or death to build a popular movement, the way the students did in 1970?

Now, as the US is more divided than ever and facing its most consequential election since the Kent State shootings,  is the Democratic party still feeling the effects of Kent? Since the Million Woman March, what sustained political movement has arisen? Which activists have risked jail or death to build a popular movement to turn the country around?

Four Dead in Ohio, first heard on the BBC, illuminates the continuities of history.  Kent State, Michael Goldfarb believes, is still shaping lives.

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Michael Goldfarb is an independent journalist based in London, England.  For thirty years he has reported from more than twenty countries on five continents for the BBC, NPR, New York Times, Newsday, Washington Post, Politico, Guardian, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt.  His podcast is called FRDH (First Rough Draft of History)  www.goldfarbpod.com

Hear Four Dead in Ohio Sunday, May 3 at 7pm immediately following May 4th Voices: Kent State 1970 produced by WKSU, which begins at 6pm on WYSO.