The Picture from Kent State
by Dirck Halstead
The Digital Journalist

Listen to John Filo's story of the Kent State photo

On May 4th, 1970, John Filo was a young undergraduate working in the Kent State photo lab. He decided to take a break, and went outside to see students milling in the parking lot. Over the weekend, following the burning of the ROTC building, thousands of students had moved back and forth from the commons area near to the hill in front of Taylor Hall, demonstrating and calling to an end to the war inj Vietnam. John decided to get his camera, and see if he could get an interesting picture. He saw one student waving a black flag on the hillside, with the National Guard in the background. He shot the photograph, and feeling that he now had recorded the moment, wandered to the parking lot, where a lot of the students had gathered. Suddenly, G company of the Ohio National Guard opened fire. John thought they were shooting blanks, and started to take pictures.

A second later, he saw Mary Vecchio crying over the body of one the students who had just been killed. He took the picture.

A few hours later, he started to transmit the pictures he had taken to the Associated Press from a small newspaper in Pennsylvania.

The photograph won him a Pulitzer.

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