Monday, May 17, 2010


May 14, 1970: Police open fire on students at Jackson State, two killed, dozen injured

by Larry Geller

I don’t want to contribute to a common mistake—remembering the Kent State shooting, which occurred on May 4, 1970, and forgetting to mention also the killing only 10 days later at Jackson State University. At Kent State, four white students were killed. At Jackson State, the students were black. So the press, if they remember either, remember Kent State.

Democracy Now featured a program on these killings on Friday, and mentioned this common neglect:

AMY GOODMAN: Howard Zinn, the late, great historian and author of A People’s History of the United States, spoke about why the Jackson State killings were largely ignored in his very last interview we did with him on Democracy Now! just last May.

    HOWARD ZINN: Yeah, well, it’s a very common thing in history to ignore the things that happen to black people. And, of course, the Kent State shooting was a very dramatic and terrible event and deserves to be remembered as one of those shameful things in American history. But the media tend to focus on some things and not on others, and the media did not focus on the other shooting that took place at Jackson State, where two black youngsters were gunned down. And so, yeah, I think our job as historians is to bring out things that we did not get ordinarily in our history lessons.   [Democracy Now, 40 Years Ago: Police Kill Two Students at Jackson State in Mississippi, Ten Days After Kent State Killings, 5/15/2010]

Please click on the link for the complete interview.

We should keep these incidents in mind, because they show how easy it is for American citizens to be killed by their government for protesting. As police become increasingly militarized and carry more sophisticated weapons, the next incident could be far more deadly than either Kent State or Jackson State.

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