Start Date

9-4-2021 10:45 AM

End Date

9-4-2021 12:00 PM

Disciplines

History

Subjects

Jim Jones (1931-1978), Peoples Temple -- History, Mass suicide -- Guyana -- Survivors, Basketball -- Guyana -- History

Description

In 1978, more than 900 people were killed on a plot of land known as Jonestown in northern Guyana. Those people were members of the Peoples Temple, a cult led by Jim Jones, who named the settlement Jonestown after himself. Originally based in California, Jones fled reports of abuse within the Temple by leading an exodus to Guyana. Facing pressure from the United States government, Jones then led his followers in a mass suicide, encouraging some and forcing others at gunpoint to drink Flavor-Aid that had been poisoned with a number of chemicals. Nearly every member of the Peoples Temple was killed. However, in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, the Jonestown basketball team was unaware of the horror taking place back home. Created as a means of boosting morale among the people of Jonestown, the members of the basketball team were some of the only people to survive the event. This paper will explore the purpose of the basketball team itself to the different actors involved: the team’s purpose to Jones, to the members of the cult, and in the minds of the team itself. Basketball was used in a multitude of ways in Jonestown to both inspire hope and exert agency.

PART OF SESSION 2D. WEAPONS OF THE WEAK:

Comment: Dale Graden, University of Idaho
Chair: Lauren MacDonald, Idaho State University

Mary C. Babcock, Gonzaga University, undergraduate student
“Outlaw Heroes: A Beacon of Hope for the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Irish Peasantry”

Jack Donahue
Western Washington University, undergraduate student
“Jonestown: A Means of Control and Rebellion through Basketball”

Hannah May Swartos, Western Washington University, undergraduate student
"'Out of the Way': Slave Property and the Subversive Construction of Subterranean Space"

Rights

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35222

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Apr 9th, 10:45 AM Apr 9th, 12:00 PM

Jonestown: A Means of Control and Rebellion through Basketball

In 1978, more than 900 people were killed on a plot of land known as Jonestown in northern Guyana. Those people were members of the Peoples Temple, a cult led by Jim Jones, who named the settlement Jonestown after himself. Originally based in California, Jones fled reports of abuse within the Temple by leading an exodus to Guyana. Facing pressure from the United States government, Jones then led his followers in a mass suicide, encouraging some and forcing others at gunpoint to drink Flavor-Aid that had been poisoned with a number of chemicals. Nearly every member of the Peoples Temple was killed. However, in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, the Jonestown basketball team was unaware of the horror taking place back home. Created as a means of boosting morale among the people of Jonestown, the members of the basketball team were some of the only people to survive the event. This paper will explore the purpose of the basketball team itself to the different actors involved: the team’s purpose to Jones, to the members of the cult, and in the minds of the team itself. Basketball was used in a multitude of ways in Jonestown to both inspire hope and exert agency.

PART OF SESSION 2D. WEAPONS OF THE WEAK:

Comment: Dale Graden, University of Idaho
Chair: Lauren MacDonald, Idaho State University

Mary C. Babcock, Gonzaga University, undergraduate student
“Outlaw Heroes: A Beacon of Hope for the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Irish Peasantry”

Jack Donahue
Western Washington University, undergraduate student
“Jonestown: A Means of Control and Rebellion through Basketball”

Hannah May Swartos, Western Washington University, undergraduate student
"'Out of the Way': Slave Property and the Subversive Construction of Subterranean Space"