TRUSS, Cornelius Lee, Jr.

Photos Courtesy of California Historical Society, MSP 3800

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Last Name
 
TRUSS
Given Names
 
Cornelius Lee, Jr.
AKA's
 
Better known as
 
Date of Birth
 
9/20/1960
Age at Death
 
18
Place of Birth
 
San Francisco, California
Race
 
Black
Gender
 
Male
Religion
 
Family Tree
 
Birth Mother
 
Barbra Hickson
Birth Father
 
Siblings
 
Marilyn Truss; Dana Truss (cousin)
Partner
 
Children
 
Non-Temple Relatives
 
Body Identification Number
 
Burial Location
 
Source of Death Information
 
House Foreign Affairs Committee report; FBI document 89-4286-1302 (prepared 12/78)
Entry into Guyana
 
4/5/1977
Residence (US)
 
Oakland, California 94619
Residence (JT)
 
SawM
Occupation outside __Peoples Temple
 
student (PT occupation record)
Occupation inside __Peoples Temple
 
Occupation at __Jonestown
 
Government Income
 
Discrepancies
 
Remembrances
 
“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