14 Dynamic Photos Of The Kent State Shooting Protest That Show The Power College Students Have

Since the advent of social media, "slacktivism" has become the prevailing form of social awareness, putting a precipitous halt to the days of yore when students turned out by the thousands to protest segregation, apartheid, and the Vietnam War, like the Kent State protests. These days, most people will much sooner share a Facebook article than attend a rally, or sign an online petition than go to a real live protest. It can be extremely disheartening to try to organize these events, to make people care in a world where everyone’s day-to-day life is so busy that there’s barely time to stop and breathe, much less dedicate extreme time and effort to protesting injustices.

Looking at history like the Kent State protests can make you nostalgic for something you never even had. That type of passion and social responsiveness seems so far removed from the world today. But the thing to remember here is that there's nothing stopping anyone, and nothing stopping you, from organizing that kind of protest now. It happens all the time — the Mizzou protest that forced the university president to resign, the black-out at Bryn Mawr that removed the Confederate flag from campus, and Emma Sulkowicz's mattress-carrying protest of Columbia's investigation into her rape. The difference now seems to be that students only mainly protest school-centric issues, rather than national issues, but that can change, too.

A Gallup poll taken shortly after the Kent State shootings showed that 58 percent of Americans blamed the protesters for their own deaths. When you’re trying to change the world, it usually isn’t on your side but that doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t important. These pictures aren’t indicative of a time gone by, they serve as instruction manuals for anyone who wants to start a movement.

by Cate Carrejo

Thousands gathered in Boston Common to protest the deaths of four Kent State University students who were shot by the Ohio National Guard.

The flag is lowered to half-mast in respect for the shooting victims as the crowd cheers on.

The students gathered from all over the nation to protest the shooting at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.

Students protested the military draft and the expensive, violent war.

The protests contributed to the end of the Vietnam War and solidified the generation’s legacy for social activism.

Two young people hug in the crowd.

Two young men wear buttons from the Student Mobilizing Committee, commemorating the 1967 march from Central Park to the United Nations building in New York City.

A photographer picks his way through the crowd, documenting the history protest for posterity.

Students cheer each other on in the summer sun.

Protesters ring the state house bell in honor of the shooting victims.

The banners reflect the accusations of the protesters, calling the political supporters of the war corrupt and murderous.

Protesters storm the steps of the Massachusetts state house, safe from arrest on the public property.

A protester happily ignores the anti-protesters next to her.