Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph H. Gardner, November 14th, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Personal involvement on campus / change of student interests at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Okay, okay. How about now?

Segment Synopsis: Joseph Gardner shares about his personal experiences during protests on the University of Kentucky's campus in 1970. He describes his employment as a professor at the University of Kentucky English department. He explains the differences between student political attitudes during the time of protests in 1970 and their attitudes during the time of this interview.

Keywords: Campus activities; Campus political activities; Employment; Faculty members; Patterson Office Tower; Political activism; ROTC Building; Student attitudes; Student involvement

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes; College students--Political activity.; College teachers--Political activity; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky (Lexington (Ky.))
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:04:53 - Campus groups and students involved in protests

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember, um, the organizations that were involved in the anti-war activity?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner recalls students and groups involved in political activities on campus. He briefly describes his time working on McCarthy's presidential campaign in 1968. The definition of a protester is explored.

Keywords: Campus activities; Campus political activities; Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign; Lexington Peace Council; Political activism; Student Mobilization Committee; Student organizations

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes; College students--Political activity; Student protesters

00:09:16 - Personal reaction to Kent State killings / the planning of rallies in memory of Kent State

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Partial Transcript: The last days of, of April of 1970, Nixon sent troops into Cambodia. And then the following Monday, I think it was May the 4th, the Kent State killings occurred. Do you recall your impressions of, of those two events when you first found out and how you felt?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner shares his personal thoughts and feelings about the killing of four college students at Kent State University. He notes that a series of atrocities were occurring during this time, but the shock of students being killed on their own campus was intense. He discusses the organization of rallies in response to both the Cambodian invasion and Kent State killings.

Keywords: Board of Trustees; Cambodia invasion; Campus activities; Campus mood; Campus political activities; Coffins; Flyers; Kent State University; Kent State killings; Organization; Patterson Office Tower; Political activism; Rallies; Shootings

Subjects: Campus violence; College environment; College students--Political activity; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Protest movements; Student protesters

GPS: Kent State University (Kent (Ohio))
Map Coordinates: 41.146411, -81.341744
00:15:30 - May 5th rally at University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What, what happened out by the fountain?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner discusses a rally held outside of Patterson Office Tower on May 5th that led to a take over of the 18th floor during a Board of Trustees meeting. The area outside of the meeting was crowded with students, faculty, and campus police officers. He discusses a petition which called for the university to release a statement condemning Kent State University and banning guns on campus. He briefly recalls an incident where Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler assaulted a student.

Keywords: Board of Trustees; Campus gun control; Campus mood; Campus police; Elevators; Faculty protestors; Governor Happy Chandler; Patterson Office Tower; Petitions; Political activism; Rallies; Speeches; Student activities; Student protestors; University statements

Subjects: Campus violence; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; College environment; College students--Political activity.; College teachers--Political activity; Protest movements; Student protesters; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; Universities and colleges--Security measures; University of Kentucky

00:20:36 - Evening rally on May 5th

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Partial Transcript: Is any connection in your mind drawn between what happened, or, say, the, the events on the eighteenth floor and, and the rally later on that night?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner describes a rally held on the evening of May 5th after the take over of Patterson Office Tower. He attempts to remember how many people were in attendance at the rally and individuals that spoke during it. He reflects on a speech he gave at the rally and his reasons behind giving it that evening.

Keywords: "Radicalization"; Allison Krause; Campus police; Coffins; Faculty protesters; Free speech area; Kent State shootings; National Guard; Protests; Rallies; Speeches; Student Center; Student protesters; Violence

Subjects: College students--Political activity; College teachers--Political activity; Protest movements

GPS: Student Center at the University of Kentucky (Lexington (Ky.))
Map Coordinates: 38.040230,-84.503606
00:28:57 - Description of protest march route with coffins

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Partial Transcript: Uh, it, it's very vague when you look at the, uh, the Herald and the Kernel reporting as to, uh, the movement of the crowd, uh, on the complex, apparently onto the complex with, with the coffins.

Segment Synopsis: Gardner retraces the route taken by protesters during their march with coffins that were symbolic of victims at the Kent State shootings. He describes a brief sit-in that happened at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and South Limestone.

Keywords: Coffins; Faculty protestors; Marches; Protests; Sit-ins; Student protestors

Subjects: College students--Political activity; College teachers--Political activity; Lexington (Ky.)

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:32:49 - Gathering outside Buell Armory

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Partial Transcript: Okay, uh, so after, after the sit-in at the corner of, uh, Euclid and Limestone, people, I take it, went onto, uh, Buell Armory.

Segment Synopsis: Gardner describes the crowd outside of Buell Armory after the march and sit-in. He attempts to recall speakers and the activities of those present. University administrators attempted to disperse the crowds unsuccessfully before a fire started in the old ROTC Building.

Keywords: Anti-war sentiment; Buell Armory; Campus political activities; Crowds; Faculty protesters; Illegal gatherings; Jack Hall; Mimeograph machines; Police; Protests; ROTC Building; Rallies; Student Center; Student government; Student protesters; Undercover

Subjects: College administrators; College students--Political activity; College teachers--Political activity; Protest movements; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:39:49 - ROTC Building fire

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Partial Transcript: So when you first saw, the, the, the fire, what did you think?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner recounts his memories of the ROTC Building fire on May 5th, 1970. The crowd that was gathered in front of Buell Armory rushed to the burning building to watch and help students leave Barker Hall which was located next to the building. He discusses various rumors about who started the fire.

Keywords: Blazer Hall; Buell Armory; Campus mood; Faculty protesters; Police; Political activism; ROTC Building; Rumors; Student protesters; Vandalism

Subjects: College students--Attitudes; College teachers--Political activity; Fire; University of Kentucky

00:43:43 - Takeover of Memorial Hall / National Guard on the University of Kentucky campus

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Partial Transcript: That was the night of the fiasco in Memorial Hall.

Segment Synopsis: Gardner shares about a take-over of Memorial Hall that occurred, possibly earlier that year. It began outside the university president's house then protesters decided to move to Memorial Hall. They were unaware at the time that the University of Kentucky didn't own it, the contractors repairing it owned it temporarily. Gardner discusses his thoughts about the presence of the National Guard on campus after the May 5th rally. He explains how he felt it was an overreaction of Governor Louie B. Nunn to send the National Guard to campus. He felt it was an overtly political decision rather than a decision to protect campus.

Keywords: Buell Armory; Building repair; Campus mood,Violence,Danger; Campus police; Construction; Contractors; Faculty protesters; Governor Louie B. Nunn; Illegal gatherings; Memorial Hall; National Guard; Protests; Rumors; State police; Student protesters; Take-overs; University property; Weapons

Subjects: College students--Political activity; College teachers--Political activity; University of Kentucky

GPS: Memorial Hall at University of Kentucky (Lexington (Ky.))
Map Coordinates: 38.036858, -84.506449
00:52:14 - Cancellation of final exams / reflections on the protest movement

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Partial Transcript: I know a lot of, uh, a lot of teachers, uh--some teachers anyway, cancelled finals that week. Did you cancel yours?

Segment Synopsis: Gardner discusses the cancellation of many finals during the spring 1970 semester. He then reflects on the national protest movement and reasons why it ended. He felt the protest at the University of Kentucky in May 1970 was an 'aftershock' of the larger movement fueled by tragedies such as the Kent State shootings. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: 'Radicals'; Anti-war sentiment; Campus mood; Chicago (Ill.); Finals; Kent State University; Political activism; Political opinion; Protesters; Protests

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Social conditions; Protest movements; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky