The Kent State University team responsible for the successful nomination of the site of the May 4, 1970, shootings to the National Register of Historic Places was recently honored with a 2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Merit Award. The awards are presented annually by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
Kent State professors Carole Barbato, Laura Davis and Mark Seeman and emeritus professor Jerry M. Lewis received the award on Nov. 6 at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Columbus. Seeman also received a Public Education and Awareness Award for his public education work and consensus building that enabled the nomination of the May 4 site to the National Register of Historic Places.
Seeman, a Kent State anthropology professor, spearheaded the application to add the site to the National Register of Historic Places. Davis, who was a freshman at Kent State when the May 4 events occurred, is an English professor and the university’s faculty coordinator for May 4 initiatives. Barbato, who also was a Kent State student in 1970, is a communication studies professor for Kent State University at East Liverpool. Lewis is a professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State who served as a faculty marshal in 1970 and witnessed the events first hand. All four are active in developing the Kent State May 4 Visitors Center.
The National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation, added the site of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State to the list on Feb. 23, 2010. The site was dedicated during the university’s annual commemoration this past May. Patrick Andrus, a reviewer with the National Register of Historical Places, commented that for a site less than 50 years old to be listed showed the exceptional importance of the Kent State site.
“The addition of the site to the National Register of Historic Places in our 40th commemoration year was very significant,” Davis said. “The Ohio Historic Preservation Award is a great honor for our team and all those who assisted with the nomination. What happened here at Kent State was an important part of American history, and we continue to learn from it.”
The site was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places because of events associated with it, although they happened less than 50 years ago, were nationally significant. The May 4, 1970, shootings site covers 17.4 acres of the Kent State campus, comprising the Commons, Blanket Hill, the Prentice Hall parking lot and the Practice Field. The historic site features the newly dedicated May 4 Walking Tour.
To watch a video about the May 4 Site’s unanimous recommendation by the Ohio Historical Society for the site to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places from Dec. 4, 2009, visit www.kent.edu/news/video/historic.cfm.
More information on the events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State can be found on the May 4 Newsroom at http://may4newsroom.kent.edu, and information on the May 4 Visitors Center can be found at www.kent.edu/may4.