- Allison Beth Krause (April 23, 1951 ? May 4, 1970) was an honor student at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, when she was shot and killed by the Ohio Army National Guard in the Kent State shootings, while protesting against the invasion of Cambodia and the presence of the National Guard on the Kent State campus. The Guardsmen opened fire on a group of unarmed students, killing four of them, at an average distance of about 345 ft (106 m). Krause was shot in the left side of her body at about 330 ft (105 m) fatally wounding her. A subsequent autopsy found that a single rifle bullet entered and exited her upper left arm, and entered her left lateral chest fragmenting on impact causing massive internal injuries. She died from her injuries later that same day.
Altogether, sixty-seven shots were fired by the Guardsmen in 13 seconds. The other students killed in the shootings were Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder. In addition, nine other students were wounded in the gunfire.
Just days before Allison Krause was killed, she said "flowers are better than bullets".
The shootings led to protests and a national student strike, causing hundreds of campuses to close because of both violent and non-violent demonstrations. The Kent State campus remained closed for six weeks. Five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C. against the war.
Krause was an alumna of John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. There is a courtyard memorial dedicated to her there. Her father, Arthur S. Krause, became an outspoken advocate for the press for truth and justice about what occurred that day and fought it in the courts for nearly 10 years following the death of his daughter. In the end, the family of Allison Krause received a 'Statement of Regret' and $15,000 for the loss of Allison.
In 2010, Allison's sister Laurel Krause co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal 'KSTT' with Emily Kunstler. The tribunal was organized to uncover, record and preserve the testimonies of witnesses, participants and meaningfully involved individuals of the Kent State shootings of 1970. Showing his support, Michael Moore livecast every KSTT testimonial at his website. In all, three tribunals were held in 2010: May 1, 2, 3 & 4 in Kent Ohio at the 40th anniversary of the shootings with a west coast tribunal in San Francisco in August and an east coast tribunal in New York City in October 2010.
- Allison Krause
Shot & Killed on May 4, 1970
photo The following are excerpts from an interview with the Krause family.
"I remember once when Allison came in from her work at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane, she was wearing a big smile and said she did it. Neither Doris nor I knew what she was referring to, but Allison was ecstatic. We later learned that she had just got a guy to talk who hadn't spoken to anyone in fifteen years." These were the words Arthur Krause used to describe the unselfish qualities of the daughter killed at Kent State in 1970. "The thing that I hope people rememberhopefully from the movie, the Requiem, or the readings is that it could happen to their child. I was like everyone else and then it happened to us." Arthur and Doris Krause carry on their lives ten years after the incident, but the pain and the lessons of the last ten years are evident. "I think we all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can't get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings to result." Krause, the parent who initially began the quest for justice in the Kent State case continued, "I knew what was going to happen; that justice would not be served, but I wanted to make sure that there was pressure applied. In the beginning the other families were not as believing that nothing would be done; I think they thought I was some sort of radical. But I can tell you that if you don't stand up for your rights they will be taken away from you just like they were from Allison and the others."
Arthur and Doris Krause have mixed feelings about the 1979 settlement. "We don't want the damn money . . we want the truth. If we had wanted the money I would have accepted the one and a half million dollar bribe I was offered to drop the civil suit, offered to me in the presence of Peter Davies in 1971. We want the facts out about how the four died. We aren't afraid of the truth. We aren't the ones who have been saying 'no comment' for the past ten years." Arthur and Doris Krause hope the movie would generate more of the same hate mail they have received for the past ten years. "They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets . . . that this was the rationale for killing her . . . why didn't they throw gravel at her?" "The political climate is very similar to that in 1970," Krause added, "Kent State, 1970 means we no longer have our daughter, but it also means something to all Americans . . . Our court battles establish without a doubt one thing. There is no constitution. There is no Bill of Rights."
You, out there, you patriots of silence,
what do you know of me?
I who lie in this lonely place beneath the soil,
cold as the death I died
for no reason nor cause
except your hatred.
Why? O Why?
If I could come to you whole,
And let you see me,
Would you then weep for me you silent patriots?
Can you weep?
Or has hatred so consumed
your angry hearts?
I cry out to you from eternity.
Do you hear me?
Do you hear the mournful song
of a distant bird,
the soft and gentle flutter of her wounded wings?
Or are you so made of stone and stell
no dart of love
could pierce the armor of your frozen hearts.
Come then and mock me in my grave
and heap scorn upon me.
O how I do pity you.
I pity your poor, stunted humanity
that hates me for dying,
and in dying this death
rejoices in the killing.
I pity you for not knowing what this teath I died
shall mean for you tomorrow.
Ah! You dare not come, despite your hate,
you cannot face to face with me.
Oh, no, the shame too great.
Then go; go wave your pretty flags to marching muscles
and leave me with those that love me.
They are few but ever true
and constant as the sun.
Go preach your nonsense to the dumb
and lead the world astray,
seeing in your blindness and hearing in your deafness.
Go preach your hate; but mark me well:
the day will surely come
when I, in others, shall arise and bring to all of you
Love and Peace.
Constantly she was surrounded by boys and girls who came not only to tell her their problems, but to laugh with her and bask in her quick wit and charm. Allison possessed a rare trait. She could move among many groups of students and always exhibit tolerance for the views of each group in which she participated. Wen baited by adults, some young people respond with anger and bitterness, if not violence. Allison expressed a passive, stoic quality, as if recognizing the injustice of name-calling, as if realizing the illness of the person filled with hate. Allison was filled with contradictions as any complex person is. She read Hermann Hesse and worked in a bagel factory after school. She could wear a fur coat one day and the following day blue jeans and a bush jacket . . . of the students I have met in five years of teaching, in six years of college, and of the people I have met when working in factories, gas stations, shops and offices, I cannot think of a better person than Allison Krause. In her own quiet way, she symbolized the best in young people.
Richard R. Taworski John F. Kennedy High School, Silver Spring, Maryland
Eulogy by Barry Levine
The following personal account was prepared by Barry Levine, Allison Krause's boyfriend, for Arthur and Doris Krause in 1971. This excerpt attempts to answer Doris' question to Barry on May 5, "What happened?"
Laurie. This part in such sorrow
I do here impart.
No words of mine can ease
This awful time.
But perhaps these lines I borrow:
Say no with sadness: she is gone;
But say with gratitude: she was.
Sunday May 3
Sunday was a peaceful day. The sun was warn and the breeze gentle. Allison spent the day quietly strolling the campus, sometimes laughing and joking, sometimes seriously discussing the past two days of disturbances on the campus. It was late afternoon when we decided to walk to the front campus and fraternize with some guardsmen.
Upon arriving, one particular guardsmen caught our eye. He stood quietly alone, a lilac in his gun barrel. Taking me by the arm, Allison walked over to him. His name was Myers, and unlike many of the soldiers we had met that day, Myers wore a pleasant smile, and when he spoke, he did so with a gentle compassion. He said he did not want to be guarding the campus, but when asked why he didn't leave, he looked at the ground and shyly said he couldn't.
Disturbed at the pleasant rapport one of his men was enjoying with us, an officer slowly strolled over and placed his arm around Myers' shoulder. As we watched inquisitively, Myers' face tightened up, his back straightened and his smile completely disappeared. The officer, yelling in Myers' ear, ordered him to identify himself and his division. Myers did so, and as we watched the fear swell in the young Guardsmen's eyes, the officer began
O: Doesn't your division have target practice
next week, Myers?
M: Yes, sir
O: Are you going there with that silly flower?
M: No, sir
O: Then what is it doing in your rifle barrel?
M: It was a gift, sir
O: Do you always accept gifts Myers?
M: No, sir
O:Then why did you accept this one?
O: (Holding out his hand) What are you going to
do with it Myers?
Myers feebly began to remove the lilac
O: That's better Myers. Now straighten up and
start acting like a soldier and forget all this
Realizing the officer would merely throw the lilac away, Allison grabbed it from his hand and gave him a look of disgust, but he only turned his back. As the officer walked away, Allison called after him 'What's the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets!'
Just a few gentle words coming from her heart, there was no profundity intendedjust a natural reaction in defense of a stranger she had taken a liking to. Five simple words that will never be forgotten.
As one amongst many she stood and screamed that the war should end, and national troops were ordered to shut her up. So she screamed louder, and would not be shut up, so they shot her; for that is how intolerables are dealt with. And in time, out of four, she alone stood out. Those who value life have memorialized her, and those who hold values higher than life have discredited her. However, through all the rumors and all the lies, her plea for sanity rings true. Around the world her words have been heard and will be remembered: 'Flowers are better than bullets' In her name hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of America, Canada and Europe. For the first time in its history the gates at a U.S.-Canadian border were closed and locked by hundreds of Canadian students, who, while not knowing her, mourned her death.
And in her memory-
Parents named their newborn children
Books were written and dedicated
Plays were written
Schools were named
Poems were written and dedicated
Vigils were held
Songs were written and sung
Movies were made
Flowers were planted
Mention her name throughout the world, and heads will turneyes swelled with tearsfor she is remembered.
Monday May 4
The sun was shining bright this spring morning as Allison left a friend's room in a nearby dorm where she had been stranded the previous night. As we walked across the campus, back to our own dorms to eat lunch, I noticed an enormous amount of life and joy in her eyes, despite the anger and terror from the previous night. We had resolved a personal problem earlier in the morning, and ironically on this morning Allison was happier than I had ever seen her.
We continued, laughing and joking as we walked, unaware that the exact path we were walking would minutes later be traveled by marching soldiers. As we climbed the hill towards the pagoda, we agreed to meet after lunch on Blanket Hill to participate and going our separate ways to eat lunch.
After lunch I walked to where we agreed to meet and waited. Standing at the top of Blanket Hill I watched angered students gather, and one hundred yards from them I saw men armed with rifles standing and waiting. Across the commons, Allison left the dormitory and crossed the field to the gathering students. She walked in front of the crown, her eyes searching the top of the hill to see if I had arrived. She stopped for a minute to say hi to a friend of oursJeff Miller. They exchanged a few words, but what was said will never to be known. How ironic that the only person she stopped to speak to that morning was a friend who hours later would be lying lifeless at her side as we rushed to save her life.
She continued on her way, her eyes fixed on the top of the hill, never once looking around to see the soldiers. It was almost as if she were oblivious to them. As she approached I noticed she had changed her clothing during lunch. She now wore dungerees, her favorite blue sneakers and a tan safari jacket opened in the front to expose one word boldly printed across her grey tee shirt. The word, ironically, was KENNEDY. Her hair had been pinned up, accentuating her prominent cheekbones, and again, ironically, baring her neck. As an order to disperse was given by the National Guard, Allison's visual search of the crowd became more urgent. Finally her eyes met mine and as a smile stretched across her face, she quickly ascended the hill to my side.
As we stood on the hill watching and waiting for the soldiers to make their move, Allison ripped in half the moistened cloth she had brought for protection against tear gas. Another dispersal order was given, yet no advance was made, so Allison felt safe in running a few yards to give a friend part of her already compromised cloth. She tore her's again and gave him half. It was a small gesture, but one that so clearly demonstrated her consideration and willingness to share. Tear gas was already being fired as she scrambled back to where I was waiting. We stood for a few seconds watching the soldiers move out behind a screen of gas, before deciding to retreat with the crowd of students.
As we began to retreat over the hill, I could see Allison almost beginning to cry. A few steps further she turned to me with tears rolling down her cheeks and asked, "Why are they doing this to us? Why don't they let us be?"
A peaceful assembly was being violently disrupted, breeding anger in most of those being dispersed. However, Allison did not feel anger, but rather disappointment and sorrow because of the violence she felt would ensue. Unfortunately, these passive emotions were soon transformed into aggression, for as we retreated, a gas cannister landed at our feet, exploding in our faces. It was at this point that Allison's sorrow changed to anger and her strained tolerance turned to resistance.
After a few seconds of recovery, Allison turned in her tracks and froze. She stood in the path of the pursuing troops screaming at the top of her lungs. Having been pushed too far, she now lashed back and I was forced to pull her along, fearing that the distance between us and the oncoming troops was becoming critical. Twice, before we reached the crest of the hill, she turned to speak her mind to these men. Each time I had to pull her onward. Upon reaching the top of the hill, she again turned, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she creamed and yelled and stomped her feet as if all her yelling might stop these me. The hand drawn to her face, holds a wet rag used to protect herself from the gas, and her other hand holds mine, with which I pulled her over the hill and into the parking lot, a safe distance from the troops.
For several minutes we stood in the parking lot watching these men threaten us with their rifles. In response, we cursed them and threw rocks. When they left we followed, all the time screaming and yelling, and then they turned.
The Parking Lot Blue Sneakers
On my knees Blue sneakers
With my life in my arms That make you
The blood flows past my feet Run faster
the tears Jump higher
Slide off my trembling lips
Falling Blue sneakers
Onto her pale That make you
Pale face Run so fast
You can beat
Like water thru my fingers A speeding bullet
Her life slips away. --If you're looking
--Barry Levine Blue sneakers
Giving you the ability
To out run death
When he is breathing
Down your neck
Your favorite blue sneakers
Tied snugly to your feet
Did not carry you away
Her Funeral Rain Tears
We drove up all in line. Not long after I found out for sure
Big black cars led us That it was she they shot
Through the trees. It began to rain
It was a small clearing A gentle warm rain
These were cameras there and reporters Streaked my cheeks
But I only saw their ghosts That wouldn't be soothed with tears
Like guns and guardsmen. Entirely too soothing a rain
For the violent end that she met
We walked in our arms
Through the crowd. Yet as sweet and gentle
The coffin looked heavy As she was
From the way they held it. I am sure she preferred it that way
With bowed heads and silence --Jeffrey Miller
We gave her back.
The one she loved never looked
So small and thin; he lost weight where
Her arms no longer were.
Then the loose soil slid over her
And it was done.
I left her there and walked away.
What I buried that day
Can never return
It had no name
*While Barry & Allison were friends with Jeffrey Glenn Miller who was also killed, the poet is another Jeffrey Miller, a friend of both Barry and Allison.