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Texas Tech Adds to Vietnam Center Collection {Kent State Papers}
Lubbock, TX, Avalanche-Journal ^

Posted on 04/13/2004 5:39:21 AM PDT by Theodore R.

Tech adds to Vietnam Center collection By SEBASTIAN KITCHEN AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

Texas Tech recently took delivery of two contrasting collections maintained by Kent State, the Ohio university where the shooting deaths of four student protesters 34 years ago galvanized the nation's anti-Vietnam War movement.

Tech's Vietnam Center received the Social Movements Collection, which documents anti-war sentiment throughout the United States during various conflicts, including Vietnam. It also has guardianship of a collection from Voices in Vital America, an organization that sought information about POWs, MIAs and their families.

It was during a campus anti-war rally on May 4, 1970, that student protesters were shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen. A Pulitzer Prize-winning photo captured the image of a young woman's horror and anguish as a student lay dead beside her.

"The image of National Guard troops shooting your own kids at a university was absolutely stunning," said James Reckner, director of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech.

The Vietnam Center and Archive received 169 boxes of material from Kent State that captures nationwide sentiment from the Vietnam War era.

Archivists have just begun sorting through the material, and it eventually will be placed in the Virtual Vietnam Archive with nearly a million other items that can be accessed online.

The Voices in Vital America collection originally was donated to Kent State in 1976. VIVA once employed 100 people who worked closely with other POW/MIA organizations.

The 70 boxes of VIVA material include, among other things, correspondence with families and information about missing soldiers. Documents also include newspaper and magazine clippings, letters, telephone logs, correspondence within the organization and with those that shared similar goals.

"It is an eclectic collection," said Stephen Maxner, associate director of the Vietnam Archive.

VIVA, which originally stood for Victory in Vietnam Association, was started in 1967 to counter campus radicalism.

The VIVA collection appears in stark contrast to the Social Movements Collection, which has almost 100 boxes containing material about the counterculture and anti-war movement. Those boxes yield periodicals and newsletters from political and church groups as well as papers that document college anti-war movements.

"It's national in its coverage of the anti-war movement," Reckner said.

The collection includes titles such as "A General Manual for the Revolution," which was published in 1970. The bound manual's first page reads: "For your own safety do not allow this publication to get out of your hands to anyone you are not absolutely sure about. Burn it after it is no longer needed."

There is also a ticket to a November 1972 event featuring then Vice President Spiro T. Agnew speaking at the Richmond Coliseum.

"There are so many different types of materials from so many different types of groups," Maxner said.

Kent State's contribution is unusual, Maxner said, and it speaks well of Tech's collection for another archive to donate its material. Kent State was impressed with Tech's reputation and the Vietnam Center's ability to make documents accessible in its virtual archive, he said.

"They will be cared for and preserved and, more importantly, accessed and used," Reckner said of Kent State's collections.

Reckner said it is important for the collections to be virtually archived because some material does not exist anywhere else and could be lost.

He also believes it is the center's responsibility to present all sides of the Vietnam conflict.

Center officials say the collection has much relevance given the upcoming anniversary of the Kent State shootings and today's political climate over the war in Iraq. 766-8753

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: 1970; archives; jamesreckner; kentstate; lubbock; may4; ohnatguard; spiroagnew; texastech; us; vietnamcenter

1 posted on 04/13/2004 5:39:23 AM PDT by Theodore R.
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