Special Collections and Archives

Browse Exhibits

Special Collections and Archives

Browse Exhibits

Campus Strike Papers: The Aftermath of May 4 1970

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This exhibit highlights a selection of the responses that are found in the Campus Strike papers in Special Collections and Archives. The Campus Strike papers have been digitized and can be viewed in their entirety online in the Kent State Shootings Digital Archive.

Featured Collection: Lafayette Tolliver Photographs

student at moratorium protestLafayette Tolliver is a Kent State University alumnus who attended the university from 1967-71, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in photojournalism. He served as a photographer and columnist for the Chestnut Burr yearbook and the Daily Kent Stater campus newspaper. He was often called upon as a photographer for many activities sponsored by Black student organizations such as Black United Students. Due to his extensive campus involvement, Tolliver produced over a thousand photographs, many of which were never published or otherwise made accessible to the public until now. Tolliver donated his collection of prints and negatives to Kent State University Special Collections and Archives in January 2014.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!  If you have any information to assist us in identifying people or events, or if you have corrections, please contact Special Collections and Archives, and include a link to the photograph or the four or five digit number that appears at the end of the image's link.

Keeping Kent Open


Immediately following the Kent State shootings, President Robert White ordered that the University close and an injunction was then granted to that effect. However, the faculty voted to complete their courses by any means necessary. This exhibit features legal documents, news clippings, letters, and oral histories surrounding the effort to keep Kent State open.

Kent State Shootings: Featured Audio Recordings

President White Press ConferenceThis exhibit features selected audio recordings from the May 4 Collection, which documents the 1970 Kent State shootings and their aftermath. The original reel-to-reel recordings were largely inaccessible due to their age and fragility.

Many of the recordings included here provide insight into Kent State University's student, faculty, and administrative responses to the shootings in the immediate days, weeks, and months following this event. Also included are radio call-in forums, commemorative events, and the Scranton Commission hearings.

This project was supported in part by an award from the Ohio Historical Records Advistory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives and Records Administration.

Lafayette Tolliver: Visual Footprints in Time


lafayette tolliver in a trench coat with his camera

Lafayette (Lafe) Edward Tolliver was a Kent State University student photojournalist during a remarkable time in the history of the University and the United States. He documented campus life, particularly Black student life, from 1967-1971, graduating from Kent State with a Bachelor of Science degree in photojournalism.

His photographs of the Black campus community provide us with beautiful images of students learning, engaging with speakers and performers, hanging out and having fun, demonstrating to fight for their rights and beliefs, and enjoying the fellowship of Greek life, among many other things. Tolliver was also an eyewitness to and documentarian of major campus events including the mass Black Student Walkout of November 1968 and the Kent State shootings of 1970. He testified about his May 4 experiences to the Commission on KSU Violence, offering his account of the events during the weekend before and the day of the shootings.

Tolliver served as a photographer and columnist for the Chestnut Burr yearbook and the Daily Kent Stater campus newspaper and also contributed to Black Watch. Tolliver wrote editorials on issues he cared about in a Stater column titled "Basic Black," a sampling of which is included in this exhibit. After earning a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toledo College of Law, Tolliver became a civil rights attorney in Toledo, Ohio, where he still resides.

This exhibit aims to provide a cross section of works created by Tolliver, to give viewers a sampling of the array of subjects he documented. The goal is to generate interest in further exploration of this amazing body of work that Tolliver has shared with Kent State and the world. The photographs in the Tolliver archive are digitized and available for viewing at: https://bit.ly/3kg23D3


Many of the photographs in this archive are unidentified. Therefore, we cannot provide individual identifications of many of the people appearing in these photographs, despite having done intensive image research. If you have any information or corrections to assist us in identifying people or events in these photographs, please contact Special Collections and Archives, and include a link to the photograph or the four- or five-digit number that appears at the end of the image's link.

Example: https://omeka.library.kent.edu/special-collections/items/show/7486

Exhibit Themes:

Spotlight on Special Collections & Archives at Kent State

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Selected books, manuscripts, and archival materials that illustrate major areas of strength in the collections

Click on the subject areas (see menu at left) to explore the exhibit!

This exhibit was launched in 2017 to celebrate 50 years of commitment to the Kent State community on the occasion of the department's anniversary. We are adding to this exhibit on a continuing basis to spotlight items from the collections and look forward to the next generation of students and researchers who will discover and use them in their work.


The Truth Demands Justice: A Snapshot History of the May 4th Task Force


student at moratorium protest

The student-run May 4th Task Force (M4TF, sometimes called the “May 4 Task Force”) was founded in October 1975, to raise awareness among students, faculty, administrators and the general public about the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. The group quickly became involved with planning the annual commemorations of the shootings and advocating for the need to remember and reflect on May 4 and related events, such as the shootings that occurred at Jackson State College (now University) on May 14-15, 1970. The May 4th Task Force has since sponsored, organized and produced events for the commemorations each year, as well as other programming throughout the school year. The Task Force has also played a vital role in connecting its work with the survivors of the shootings, including the families of those killed on May 4. Additionally, members were strong proponents of the construction of the May 4 Memorial and the May 4 Visitors Center. In the long wake of the shootings, which occurred during a protest against the Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia, the May 4th Task Force continues the legacy of student activism, peace and social justice at Kent State University today.

This exhibit highlights materials from Special Collections and Archives that document the work of the May 4th Task Force.

Follow the links below to view the digital exhibit. 

Curated by Haley Antell