TRUSS, Cornelius Lee, Jr.

Photos Courtesy of California Historical Society, MSP 3800

Submit Remembrances

Last Name
Given Names
Cornelius Lee, Jr.
Better known as
Date of Birth
Age at Death
Place of Birth
San Francisco, California
Family Tree
Birth Mother
Barbra Hickson
Birth Father
Marilyn Truss; Dana Truss (cousin)
Non-Temple Relatives
Body Identification Number
Burial Location
Remains claimed by next of kin; burial location unknown
Source of Death Information
House Foreign Affairs Committee report; FBI document 89-4286-1302 (prepared 12/78)
Entry into Guyana
Residence (US)
Oakland, California 94619
Residence (JT)
Occupation in U.S./Skills, Talents & Interests
Wood work, navigation (RYMUR 89-4286-E-2-A-1LLLLL); student (RYMUR 89-4286-X-5-a-28c)
Occupation in Jonestown (Temple Records)
Alaskan Saw Mill (RYMUR 89-4286-E-2-A-1LLLLL)
Jonestown Roles (FBI Records)
Government Income
“Cornelius was in my English class at Opportunity High. He and a boy named Vance Smith, also in the Temple, were best friends. They asked me if they could read the same book for a book report, and write a letter to the author, which was one of the choices for writing. They read "The Cay" by Theodore Taylor, a book about a black man who befriends a young white boy, victim of a shipwreck. The boy has been blinded, in more ways than one, as he has been taught prejudice. Phillip, the boy, learns to love Timothy, the man. I still have a copy of the letter from Mr. Taylor, who said in response to Vance and Cornelius' question, "Yes, I do think that everyone on earth, of al colors, could be helped by a tiny bit of color blindness. The ayes are responsible for a lot of racial prejudice. Touch someone with your eyes closed, and you don't know if they're black, white or polka-dot. I feel that we older people have failed and it is up to younger people like yourselves to turn the world around. I also feel confident you will do it." I can still see Vance, who was white, and Cornelius, black, sitting side by side, reading together and writing together. They did try. I'm so sorry that Cornelius died so young. I don't know what happened to Vance. If he's still alive, and reads this some day, I'd love to hear from him. Judy Bebelaar teacher at Opportunity High ” - Judy Bebelaar