“I was in a political science class where everybody was opposed to the Vietnam war except me. After a while, I began to listen to what the others were saying, and for the first time I started to consider whether or not this was a proper war. Within a short time, I had some serious doubts.”
1970. After the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the beating of young people at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Kent State student Alan Canfora joined the Young Democrats, then the Students for a Democratic Society. There was a spontaneous uprising of students nationally against President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia that culminated at Kent State with a rally for May 4. The Ohio National Guard had already been ordered on campus. Alan, shortly after attending the funeral of a close friend killed in Vietnam, joined, and was outspoken in his opposition to the Guard's presence at the rally. As the marching guardsmen were leaving the scene, they suddenly turned and fired upon students. “I stayed tucked behind the tree during the thirteen seconds of gunfire. As I lay there wounded, I could hear bullets hit the tree. I could hear many other bullets zipping through the air on both sides of me, into the parking lot behind me where all four students were killed.” Those students were not, the FBI later confirmed, "in a position to pose even a remote danger to the National Guard."
From the set: "Portraits: Social Activists of the Last Century."