I was only with you during your last year. All my memories are of 1970. One major difference between me & the rest of you, of which I could not be unaware, was the fact that you were all going to get your draft cards for Vietnam over the summer after we left. My country stayed out of that war, so I was going to go home safe & unaffected. My viewpoint was inevitably that of an outsider, but then they say that “the looker on sees most of the game!”
I remember Kent State. The whole school stopped for a day. The authorities announced that lessons were suspended ‘out of respect.’ Perhaps the phrasing was different, I forget. A very astute way of keeping control, I always thought!
I remember a big meeting in the evening of that day. Many speeches were made; the one I will never forget was Ken Witherspoon’s. I remember the gist, not word for word. He told all of us white people to get over ourselves. (It was one occasion when I was definitely included!)
“The National Guard shoots some white boys and all of a sudden everything stops. You are all morally indignant. But I remember (Ken said) the day after Martin Luther King was killed. I was here. I remember walking down the road & looking at the football field. You were all playing as if nothing had happened.”
I have never forgotten that moment.
I also remember Ken saying goodbye to me at the end of term. “Don’t forget’” he said. “The revolution’s coming to your country too!”
Perhaps it has at that!