header 1
header 2
header 3

May 1970

For most of us, May 1970 was the end of our First Year at Oberlin, but it didn't end like any other year. From the moment of Nixon's speech announcing the Cambodian incursion on the evening of April 30, nothing on campus was normal. A lot has been written and published about the following weeks on campus and off, but there are lots of individual memories that we can share, too. So, in addition to looking at the materials linked below, feel free to share your own memories of those days and weeks in the forum.

On Oberlin's site there is a "Memory and Memorial" page that includes a reprint of an article published in the Alumni Magazine, authored by our own Helen Paxton. In addition, on that page there are links to the May 10 performance at the National Cathedral of Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor by the Oberlin College Community Orchestra and Chorus. In June 2022, at the combined 50th reunion of the three classes graduating before ours, there was a performance of the Requiem, which is available to be viewed online:

See here also, the documentary "5/70" written and edited by our own Richard Haass, about the Oberlin response to the Kent State shootings (produced  cooperatively by students and staff of Oberlin College).

Included here are links from the Oberlin page. If you have others you would like added, feel free to let us know.

The Oberlin Sanctuary Project, a forum for research, reflection, and discussion, includes on its website a page on anti-war protest and the Kent State shootings

“Oberlin’s Reaction to Kent and Cambodia.” Oberlin Alumni Magazine article.

Press release from college declaring May 5 a day of mourning and closing administrative offices and suspending classes.

Press release from college announcing, among other things, that Oberlin College has been designated by the Ohio Coalition of Colleges and Universities “Kent State in Exile.”

The website for special collections and archives of Kent State University has extensive documentation of the event and aftermath, including documents related to the Kent State University community in exile at Oberlin College.

Our own Rich Orloff has written a documentary-style play of Vietnam-era college students, Days of Possibilities, based on letters from and interviews with more than 100 Oberlin alumni. 

“Oberlin Requiem,” review by Paul Hume, Washington Post, May 11, 1970

“Students Organize Performance of Mozart Requiem in Washington,” by Louis Moansi, Christian Science Monitor, May 13, 1970

“War Radicalizes Many at Oberlin,” John Kifner, New York Times, May 17, 1970

“A Matter of Relevance,” by Alan Rich, New York Magazine, June 1, 1970

“Oberlin Honors Robert Fountain,” Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Winter 1996.

“Historian’s Notebook,” by Geoffrey Blodgett, Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Fall 1998