After President Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia on April 30, 1970, students protested on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, from May 1 to May 4. Howard Ruffner, then a sophomore and school photographer, caught the unarmed students clashing with the Ohio National Guard amid throwing rocks and tear gas, resulting in four students dead and nine wounded. One of Ruffner’s images of the wounded landed on the cover of Life magazine; later, he would testify and his pictures used in the civil trials against the guardsmen.
In his new book, Moments of Truth: A Photographer’s Experience of Kent State 1970, which he discusses tonight, Ruffner pairs nearly 150 images (many never before seen) with a timeline and text that retrace the details and key figures of one of the anti-war movement’s biggest events almost 50 years later.
Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Tue., Sept. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com.