Ohio Governor James Rhodes

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

May 3, 1970

The fuse is lit

On May 4, 1970, life ended suddenly and horribly for Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Knox on the Kent State (OH) campus.

Like any historic event, the story was not a spontaneous one. The story had a lead up.

Ohio Governor James A Rhodes, first elected in 1963, had what was known then as a “law and order” view of unrest.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

 From Mendo Coast article

Less than year before the tragic shootings at Kent State, the SAC [Special Agent in Charge] of the Cincinnati Bureau [FBI] sent [FBI Director] Hoover a memo detailing Rhodes’ attitude towards civil unrest: “He personally feels that the Director is the outstanding American and that he is the only person who has consistently opposed those persons who would subvert our government. He feels that the Director’s stated position of dealing firmly with these groups is the only sensible method.”

He [Rhodes] commented on the riots and unrest which have occurred repeatedly and said that some of this might well have been avoided if the Director’s warnings and advice had been followed. In Ohio, he has not hesitated to use the National Guard to deal with these situations and has instructed the Guard to act quickly and firmly. He feels that this is the only way to maintain law and order, and that the maintenance of law and order is the only way our government can survive,” the memo records[my emphasis]

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

Cambodian Invasion

Keep in mind the days preceding May 4.

As promised by the newly-elect President Nixon, the Vietnam War seemed to be winding down. Then in late April of 1970, Nixon ordered the US invasion of Cambodia and widened the Vietnam War. Nixon announced the invasion on April 30, l970.

The next day student protests erupted on many college campuses. Kent State University was one of those place and announced plans for a second rally noon Monday 4 May.

Saturday 2 May. Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom asked Governor Rhodes to send in the Ohio National Guard. Stationed close by, the Guard arrived that evening to the burning of the University’s ROTC building.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

Sunday 3 May

Sunday 3 May. About 1000 Ohio National Guardsmen occupied the campus, While tense, the mood was not threatening. Student quietly conversed with Guard members. It was on this day at a press conference that Ohio Governor James A Rhodes called the anti-war protesters “the worst type of people we harbor in America, worse than the brown shirts and the communist element.”

That evening confrontations between protesters and guardsmen occurred and once again rocks, tear gas, and arrests characterized a tense campus.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

May 4, 1970

May 4 was simply another day in most ways. People awoke. Ate breakfast. Began their day.

“ABC” by the Jackson 5 was Billboard’s #1 single.  Ironically, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the #1 album.

The tragedy of May 4 would leave us perplexed, shocked, and with many questions.

Did the National Guard need to shoot? Were their lives in danger? Why were between 61 and 67 shots were fired in a 13 second period? Should the Guard have been on campus to begin with?

The 418 page Scranton Committee Report on the event determined that “The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.

No legal proceedings ever found the Guard culpable and the January 1979 monetary settlement paid out of court by the State of Ohio was termed an apology, not an admission of guilt.

Regardless of any possibilities, for Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Knox life ended suddenly and horribly on May 4, 1970.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Arts  & Crafts

Hoboken Division Nancy France

 I should know better because I’ve leaned the lesson too many times: if an album cover is really good (and Arts & Crafts is!), then buy it!

My wife and I were in Strasbourg, France. I saw a record store…

Hoboken Division Nancy France

…and walked in. Not enough time to browse, but Hoboken Division’s Arts & Crafts album caught my eye. I took a picture. At least I’d remember the name.

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Luckily for me (in so many ways) it was 2016 and locating the band on Facebook was easy as well as finding…

         …its web site

         …or its Twitter feed

          …was easy. And of course, the band has a video presence on YouTube…

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Hoboken Division

Who is Hoboken Division? The duo of Marie Rieffly and Mathieu Cazanave is from Nancy, France (Non inultus premor) and, like bands from all over Europe have done for decades, fell in love with American Delta blues. And like good bands everywhere, they’ve taken that sound, added their own fine musical sensibilities, and created something that sounds both now and then.

This is straightforward music.  No gimmicks. Cazanave’s guitar can slide and growl. Rieffly’s voice does either as well. She’ll boost in harmonica, too. The music can be thick, but not lumpy; smooth, not slick. 

Mix a taste of RL Burnside,  a splash of Left Lane Cruiser, a dollop of Iggy Pop, a teaspoon or two of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and a bucket of unbleached organic Hoboken Division. Don’t be shy. 

Hoboken Division formed in 2011 and have played gigs throughout France and the rest of Europe since then. Fingers crossed that they’ll get across the pond to American shores someday soon.

Until then, check out their music on YouTube or, better yet, support their music through their site. And the next time someone clichés that “they don’t make music like that anymore,” tell them that you have two words for them:

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Non inultus premor

BTW…The motto Non inultus premor is Latin for “I’m not touched with impunity”—a reference to the thistle. Perhaps we can describe Hoboken Division’s music the same way.

Hoboken Division Nancy France

How Hoboken

In a 2014 interview with the It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine  Marie explained the origin of the band’s name:  When we decided to get serious with this band affair we wrote dozens of random cool words and names on a piece of paper.  It was covered with words that we liked for their sound, or with places that could refer to something…  In the middle there was “Hoboken Railroad Division”, which we both loved.  ‘Railroad’ only lasted a few weeks before we realized nobody here in France, ourselves included, was able to pronounce it correctly!  The name is a reference to the Hoboken terminal in New Jersey, where through out history thousands of people have met and mixed, people from the south running away from the Dustball in the early century were put in there when they arrived, people coming from Europe…  It was also was a port of departure for he GI’s during both World Wars.  They had this maxim: “Heaven, Hell or Hoboken for Christmas”.  We like to think that they brought the blues to Europe!  We really like the history of the place and it’s a powerful symbolic place for the music we love.

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Mesmerizing

Their second album release was the The Mesmerizing Mix Up of The Diligent John Henry. Les Disques de la Face Cachée released it on on November 10th, 2017.

Check out “All Them Black Crows.”

A review from the Rock Made In France site said (google-translated):  …it breathes the hot breath of the Delta and the grease of the funds of garage. The bottleneck wipes the handle in long, rough come and go beaten by a tribal rhythm and enhanced by a female voice never vulgar, always inhabited. 

Hoboken Division Nancy France

And while working on a third album, the band released “Cookies and Milk” single in December 2019.

Hoboken Division Nancy France

Francis Gary Powers

Francis Gary Powers

May 1, 1960
Francis Gary Powers
U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers sits in the witness chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 1962. This was his first public appearance since his release by the Russians on February. 10, 1962. He is holding a U-2 model plane. (AP Photo)
Francis Gary Powers

Government dodging

I think I remember something about Francis Gary Powers at the time, but I don’t know when I first heard of him. Not on May 1, 1960 when I was probably outside playing after Sunday dinner and trying not to think about Monday and sitting in Miss Liston’s 4th grade class. Did I have homework that weekend? Had I done it?

Francis Gary Powers had taken off from Afghanistan that day in his U2 jet intending to fly over the Soviet Union, take pictures of likely nuclear missile installations, and land in Norway. Flying at 70,000 feet, military experts said he was beyond the reach of Soviet missiles.

In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower had proposed an “open skies” plan, in which each country would be permitted to make overflights of the other to conduct mutual aerial inspections of nuclear facilities and launchpads. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev refused the proposal.

The US’s U2 spy plane program was a secret program aimed at bypassing that refusal. Flying over a country without permission could be considered an act of war. The program began in 1956.

The Soviets did track some flights, but could not prove that the US was conducting them. The Soviets remained silent because announcing their knowledge of the flights would also reveal their inability to shoot them down.

Until May 1, 1960.

Francis Gary Powers

U2 shot down

The flight had been normal until explosions suddenly broke off a U2 wing and shut down its controls. To use the automatic bailout system with the plane in freefall would have severed his legs. He tried to bail out manually and was nearly sucked out of the plane when he removed its canopy. He also realized that he couldn’t reach the plane’s self-destruct button.

When the US government found out about the situation, it assumed that the plane was destroyed and Powers killed. The government released a story that it was not a spy but a weather plane that had gone off course. A “NASA” painted model was used for exhibit. Eisenhower confirmed the story.

Until the Soviets released pictures of the plane, mostly intact, and Powers, alive. A planned summit between Eisenhower and Khrushchev went south. The Soviets tried Powers on August 17 and found him guilty of espionage two days later. The court sentenced Power to 10 years in prison.

Francis Gary Powers

James B Donovan

Three months later, the US elected John F Kennedy president and Powers became his problem. On February 10, 1962 James B Donovan completed his successful negotiation for the exchange of Powers, along with American student Frederic Pryor, for Rudolf Abel.

Ironically, Donovan had defended Abel five years earlier in American courts and though losing the case, was able to defeat the government’s request for the death penalty.


The exchange took place on the famous Glienicke bridge in Berlin – the “bridge” referred to in the title of the 2015 film Bridge of Spies.

Francis Gary Powers
The Glienicke bridge just after the Powers swap on 10 February 1962
Francis Gary Powers

Back Home

Back from the USSR, Powers underwent the questioning scrutiny of the American media. Why had he co-operated with the Soviets? Why hadn’t he committed suicide?

A Senate committee hearing in 1962 gave Powers a chance explain.The committee fully exonerated him and awarded $50,000 in back pay to cover the period of his incarceration in Russia.

He took a job as a pilot for a television news station and died in a helicopter crash on August 1, 1977.

He is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery where his tombstone includes two honors, both awarded posthumously: the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Prisoner of War medal.

Francis Gary Powers
photo by Edward (Ted) Tyler
Francis Gary Powers