a whirlwind of ideas
like Cambridge and Berkeley, where protests had been frequent
and expected, but at more conservative universities like Nebraska
and Arizona. Most memorably, at a gathering at Kent State University
in Ohio, an event of ultimately historic proportions occurred: National
Guardsmen fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians and killed four
students: a twenty-year-old girl, a twenty-year-old boy, a nineteen-
year-old girl, and a nineteen-year-old boy, no one of them a protest
leader or even a radical. Campuses everywhere reacted with shock
and anger, and young college students across the United States saw, in
the faces of the four who had been “murdered,” their own images—
and their own helplessness against a power they could only condemn.
Student responses varied from campus to campus: at Wisconsin
there were twenty major fire-bombings; Yale students began orga-
nizing a “counter-commencement”; the President of Oberlin College
canceled classes and examinations and brought the school year
suddenly to an end.
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