Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Identified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Scotch C-60/ “Celebration for Change Nov. 30, 1975”
Date cues on tape: November 1975 (confirmed by Raven, Reiterman & Jacobs, p. 265)
Public figures/National and international names:
Ben Chavis, black leader, member of Wilmington 10
Frederick Douglass, Anti-slavery activist and autobiographer
President Gerald Ford
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Robert Kennedy, assassinated presidential candidate, U.S. Senator
Martin Luther King
Joan Little, black prisoner who killed guard who raped her
Former President Richard Nixon
Carl Rowan, syndicated newspaper columnist
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Singer Marvin Gaye
Willie Brown, Assemblyman from San Francisco (speaks)
Angela Davis, university professor, member of Communist Party, black activist (speaks)
Belva Davis, reporter for KPIX-TV (speaks)
Ed Freeman, director of OMI Trucking, friend of Cecil Williams (speaks)
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher
Bob Hayes, reporter for San Francisco Examiner (speaks)
Patricia Hearst, newspaper heiress, kidnapped by SLA in 1974 (by reference)
Randolph Hearst, newspaper publisher, father of Patricia
George Jackson, imprisoned Black Panther
Jonathan Jackson, imprisoned Black Panther
Milton Marks, California State Senator from San Francisco (speaks)
George Moscone, candidate for mayor of San Francisco (speaks)
Margo St. James, leader of COYOTE, prostitute lobby (speaks)
Cecil Williams, minister at Glide Methodist Church, San Francisco (speaks)
John (last name unknown), Nation of Islam
family of Cecil Williams
Members of Peoples Temple:
Tim Stoen (by reference)
Bible verses cited:
“-terrorist, because he whipped their posteriors out of the temple” [Beginning of sentence cut off by tape] (Matthew 21:12-13 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” See also Mark 11:15-17)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Michael Bellefountaine. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
This tape consists of a testimonial program given in honor of Rev. Cecil Williams on the tenth anniversary of his ministry at Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco. Assemblyman Willie Brown serves as master of ceremonies for the program, and numerous dignitaries give short speeches focusing on Williams’ contribution to the community and anticipating the words of the honoree himself.
The exception is Jim Jones. Despite the reason for the occasion, it is Jones who receives the longest and most enthusiastic ovations (more so even than Williams himself) and who delivers the evening’s longest speech (again, longer than Williams’). The speech is also the most substantive, a political address worthy of a keynote speaker, especially compared to the last speech of the night by Williams himself, who merely echoes a few of Jones’ previous words, introduces his own family, and describes the rest of the night’s entertainment.
Jones’ reception was not surprising, though. Peoples Temple members and supporters packed the church, because Peoples Temple had purchased the most tickets. The purchase ensured that Glide church will be filled, but Williams paid the price by being upstaged at his own event.
Jones is the sixth person of the night to speak. In his introduction, Willie Brown describes the Temple leader as a man who has done “fantastic things” and become “an inspiration for a whole lot of people.” Williams might be a man that people go to when they are in need, Brown adds, but the honoree “with regularity has had to call . upon Peoples Temple. Many of the rest of us have had to call upon Peoples Temple.”
Jones begins by mentioning the mutual goals that he and Cecil Williams share – helping the disadvantaged, working for social equality and justice – and endorses the peaceful means of seeking these goals. He suggests that there is terrorism in the country, but that “terrorism was not invented by the poor”; rather it comes from government agencies who resist change. But the country will not be safe, Jones warns, “until we do something to share the wealth and share it completely, and fairly, and democratically, and peacefully.”
Some of Jones’ rhetoric is mainstream, geared towards the establishment liberal audience before him, when he speaks of the importance of a free press and of the need to lobby against an oppressive piece of legislation before Congress. But he also lists the groups and the individuals in recent years who have been maligned and persecuted, and compares them several times to “the rest of us poor niggers,” language that he often reserved for addresses at the Temple.
Jones closes his speech with more one-up-manship on the honoree. Williams had apparently received an anonymous death threat earlier that day (see Raven excerpt below), but Jones says that he was asked to wear a bulletproof vest for his own protection because he has had “three assassination threats on my life” [emphasis added] that same day. He bemoans the fact that people cannot protest peacefully without being considered terrorists, then issues a warning: “as of today, Jim Jones and the thousands of Peoples Temple are still peaceful activists. But change, America. There’s one thing we want to tell you, and I think we speak for more than Peoples Temple, if you come for one of us, you damn well better come for all of us.”
Williams’ later description of the death threat against him, and his words of defiance, sound more wilted in comparison. Indeed, as mayoral candidate George Moscone – the speaker immediately following Jones – points out, the Temple leader is a hard act to follow. The audience doesn’t have to worry about Moscone dragging on, the candidate says, “because you know I’m smarter than to give a speech after listening to Reverend Jim Jones.”
Moscone also echoes – and endorses – Jones’ central point that “when the rich understand that they are to be treated as the poor as well, . then we will have a coming together of all people, regardless of their economics.” The candidate then closes with an offbeat note of thanks to Williams.
The book Raven by Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs gives additional context to this tape when it describes the celebration marking the tenth anniversary of Cecil Williams’ ministry.
“The event, a testimonial service at Glide followed by a jazz-soul music concert at the Cow Palace auditorium, was marred before it could begin. There was an anonymous threat of Williams’s life. Then, when the Temple contingent descended on Glide, Jones announced that his security team wanted to frisk everyone entering. Williams refused politely.
“Thousands of Williams’s friends and supporters thronged to services highlighted by tributes from influential liberal and leftist leaders. Among there were future Temple friends and allies: [Carlton] Goodlett, black communist Angela Davis, State Assemblyman Willie Brown and future mayor George Moscone. In that perfect setting, Jones could hardly conceal his rivalry.
“Resplendent in a suit, Jim Jones was dramatically escorted to the stage by bodyguards. With his thousand faithful casting adoring shouts and applauding, Jones spoke, alluding to threats on his own life, praising Williams’s work, attacking the ‘terrorism’ of U.S. government agencies at home and abroad. When he finished his speech with a ringing oath of solidarity – ‘[If] you come for one of us, you damn well better come for all of us’ – his members burst into a tumultuous forty-five seconds of applause.
“Williams received only a smattering by comparison. Then the insult was compounded at that night’s Cow Palace concert when Jones’s one thousand members, occupying a bloc of seats that had cost the Temple $5,000, stood up in the middle of the show and walked out en masse” (pp. 265-266).
Former Temple member Laura Johnston Kohl may have added an extra contextual note to this incident. In 2005 – twenty-seven years after the deaths in Jonestown and 30 years after this tape was made – she recalled an incident in which Jim Jones had asked musician Quincy Jones for a special mention of Peoples Temple during a concert where he was to perform. When the musician rebuffed the minister, Jim Jones decided to demonstrate his displeasure. The church members, thousands of them, went to the concert “in a large hall,” according to Kohl, and Jim Jones waited until the concert was underway. Then – partway through a song Quincy Jones was performing – Jim Jones signaled for his followers to stand en masse and leave.
Kohl is hazy on some of the details, but it fits with the account of this night, including the detail that the Cow Palace could easily have been the “large hall” she recalls. The irony of this is that the decision to stand and leave en masse, then, was not intended as a slight towards Cecil Williams, but towards Quincy Jones. Williams’ interpretation may have thus been incorrect, and the consequent rift that opened between Jones and Williams could have been based upon a misunderstanding, one that both men became too entrenched to bridge.
Date of transcription: 4/5/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On March 28, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape number 1B62-103. This tape was found to contain the following:
Celebration at Glide Memorial Church honoring CECIL WILLIAMS, prior to June, 1976, with Assemblyman WILLIE BROWN as Master of Ceremonies. Speakers include BOB HAYES, San Francisco Examiner; BELVAH DAVIS, KPIX-TV; ANGELA DAVIS, teacher; MILTON MARKS, State Senator; MARGO ST. JAMES, head of COYOTE; Revered JIM JONES, People’s Temple; Senator GEORGE MOSCONE, candidate for Mayor of San Francisco; ED FREEMAN, Director of ONI Trucking; and CECIL WILLIAMS.
This tape was reviewed and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2005