The “Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple” website has undergone significant changes and additions within the last year. It has also benefited from the help of many people who have donated their time and talents to make the site even more comprehensive.
Among the most important changes:
- The listing of people who died in Guyana on 18 November 1978 now includes more extensive biographical information – and, where available, photographs – for each person. Each name has a link to a new page that lists as much general biographical information as we have. We are always interested in obtaining more (and in correcting the errors we have made), so please feel free to contact us with additional information. You’ll also note that there is space for relatives and friends to submit remembrances, and we encourage you to do so.
The work in uploading all the photos is still ongoing. If you do not see a photo right away, please return at a future date.
In the interests of protecting the privacy of the living, we have not extended these new links to include the members of the Jonestown community who survived that day.
- www.jonestown.com, a site launched in 1998 by Laurie Efrein Kahalas, is now archived in its entirety on this site. A story about the move appears here.
- New documents have been added to the Primary Sources section of the website. They include:
- The Accusation of Human Rights Violations prepared by the Concerned Relatives and released to the public in April 1978;
- The affidavit written by Debby Layton Blakey in May 1978;
- The Peoples Temple codebook for names used in radio communications between the United States and Guyana;
- Reports from the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the ownership of weapons located in Jonestown; and
- Michael Prokes’ statement to the press written by shortly before his suicide in March 1979.
- The site also features a section of Personal Reflections, a collection of articles from those most immediately affected by the deaths in Jonestown. We will continue to publish new articles from former Temple members, Jonestown residents and relatives each year in the jonestown report, but we also place those articles in the larger – and growing – permanent collection.
- We handle the more detailed and analytical articles by journalists, scholars and historians in a similar manner. We publish the new articles in the jonestown report as we receive them, but they can also be found in the more permanent Articles section.
- Finally, we continue to upload more transcripts and summaries of Peoples Temple audiotapes to our Tapes section. The recent additions are indicated in both the “Tapes” and “Summaries” listings. We have also improved the site’s ability to toggle between the transcript and summary of each tape as a way to help the reader put the transcript into perspective and context.
We recognize that we would not have made the progress of the last year without the assistance of numerous people, and we would like to thank: Liz Parker for her work in designing and maintaining our site; Josef Dieckman for his research into the Temple’s radio communications, including contacts with ham radio operators and the FCC, an extensive resource which will be added in coming months; Michael Bellefountaine, Seriina Covarrubias and Paul VanDeCarr for assistance in transcribing (and in Paul’s case, translating) Jonestown tapes; Michael Bellefountaine (again) for typing the journals of Temple member Edith Roller, another extensive resource which will be uploaded in coming months; and Laura Efrein Kahalas for agreeing to let us archive her research on Jonestown.com.
We also thank the scores of people who have written in to correct various errors, especially those on the death list. We cannot emphasize how much we encourage these contacts. One of the founding goals of this website was to give names and to restore humanity to those people who died in Jonestown, and we can do that only through the help of the relatives and friends of the Jonestown dead to ensure accuracy and precision. This is even more important, now that we have added biographical information to accompany the names.
Rebecca Moore & Fielding M. McGehee III