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Alan Canfora Is Remembered for His Legacy of May 4 Activism

Alan Canfora
Mark Arehart
Alan Canfora, pictured here at a younger age, was wounded in the shootings at Kent State University May 4, 1970. He's remembered as one of the foremost scholars of the events of May 4.

Alan Canfora, one of the nine wounded survivors of the Kent State shootings 50 years ago, is being remembered for his legacy of activism.

Canfora died earlier this month at the age of 71.

For decades after the Kent State shootings, Canfora pushed for both recognition and transparency about the events of May 4, 1970.

Canfora helped found the May 4 Task Force and was a driving force in getting the university to recognize and commemorate the shootings.

“He’s really why the visitor’s center is in existence. He’s why the university commemorates May 4 every year. He’s why we have the memorials. He really kept pushing the university to do the right thing. It’s because of him we are where we are,” May 4 Director Mindy Farmer said.

Farmer said Canfora was the foremost authority on what happened on May 4, regularly returning to the site of the shootings to give tours and speak.

“And he kept pushing. He would write letters. When he thought the university was doing the wrong thing, he would let them know. When he thought they were doing the right thing, he would let them know,” she said.

Farmer said he will be forever memorialized in a photo taken just before the shootings in 1970. It shows Canfora waiving a black flag above his head as members of the Ohio National Guard aim their rifles in his direction.