San Francisco Stories from StoryCorps and KALW: Congresswoman Speier remembers the Jonestown Massacre
- San Francisco Stories from StoryCorps and KALW: ...
San Mateo Congresswoman Jackie Speier has lived quite an eventful life. But arguably the most remarkable event happened during her time spent as a legal aide to San Mateo Congressman Leo Ryan in the fall of 1978. That November, Speier was with Ryan on a fact-finding mission into the People’s Temple in Jonestown. It was a mission that ended in bloodshed and the death of Congressman Ryan. Congresswoman Jackie Speier visited the StoryCorps booth in San Francisco with her senior advisor, Brian Perkins, to share her experience in Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan.
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April 5, 2011
JACKIE SPEIER: He became concerned that there was something going on that was indeed problematic, and as he became introduced to more and more former members of the People’s Temple, people who had defected, his concerns grew and he was chair of a sub committee on protecting American citizens abroad. So as chair of that sub-committee he decided to make a trip to Jonestown and find out first hand what was going on.
We got to the commune and it was pretty remarkable. In two years, they had created a very viable community. There were crops growing, there were cabins, there was a pavilion, there was a medical clinic, there was a day care center. So over the course of that evening we interviewed many members.
Meanwhile Don Harris, the NBC reporter on the trip, was moving around the pavilion. There had been a show put on for us and they were making a very positive impression on many people, a...
Read the full transcript