As we approach the anniversary of the mass murder-suicide in Jonestown on November 18th, please consider allowing me to talk with your folks–your classes or community institutions–about my creative work on Peoples Temple. Let’s re-center the people of Peoples Temple who have been sensationalized, sanitized, and otherwise erased from the historical record.
Peoples Temple, also known popularly as Jonestown, was an integrated congregation that died by drinking cyanide-laced fruit punch, coerced into the act by their spiritual leader, a white man. Nearly 80% of the congregation was African American; nearly 50% of those who died were African American women. Around 300 of the over 900 who died were under the age of 17.
Can we talk?