Stressful Moments in 1970 WVU Anti-War Protest Documented in Student's Photos
Stirring images of Morgantown police officers marching through West Virginia University’s campus, with gas masks and large sticks, were captured May 7, 1970 by a student with his small black and white camera. Morgantown attorney Dan Ringer was a 21-year-old physics major when on a third day of what had been quiet anti-war demonstrations he decided to go check-out the growing crowd about mid-day.
Ringer is sharing some of his photographs on our website, and recently shared his recollections of that day with Senior Producer Suzanne Higgins.
With a backdrop of very recognizable buildings to those familiar with the campus, photo after photo captures a really fascinating scene. A couple thousand WVU students largely divided into two groups, aligned along University Avenue.
A few students are seen perched in trees, others are leaning over balconies. Policemen are armed with large guns and tear gas. Faces are serious, pensive, clearly wondering what might happen next.
This warm spring day occurred less than a week after the U.S. commenced bombing of Cambodia, days after the Kent State shootings where 4 students were killed and 11 injured, and less than 6 months after the reinstatement of the military draft.
Several university demonstrations across the country that week erupted into violence.
Eventually Gov. Arch Moore sent in a detachment of state police to break up the crowd at WVU.