Williams, Cecil: Aftermath of Jonestown


Cecil Williams


Williams: On the day that the Jim Jones episode was clearing, was definitely going toward its end; that was that Saturday that it occurred. And I had, I had known Jim Jones but, that's when most of the people were killed, or even killed themselves. On that, that was that Saturday. On Sunday morning, when I was getting ready for my services here, my celebrations here, somebody came to me and said the mayor is on the line. George Moscone is on the line. So I went to the phone and George said “Cecil?”, and I said yes. And he said “we've got a real problem.” He said “I'd like to try to get in the center where the people in San Francisco live from Jim Jones’ group, but I'm not sure what how I approach it at this particular point. You knew him what would you suggest?” And I said, “First and foremost, what we need to do, George, is call Carlton Goodlett and Willie Brown. Number one you need to call them and tell them. But the second thing is the chief of police should also be given a call and ask to go in, if at all possible, to talk to make sure that everybody's okay here in the, in the center, where the people live. And so he said, “Is there anything else?” and I said, “I would like to hear from you if it does not get worked out because I would be very happy to try to intervene if I possibly could.” I said, “They had just called me some months ago, trying inviting Jan, my wife, and I down and we said no.” Because we have come to see that there were some serious problems there and we knew that if there were serious problems with that, something would happen sooner or later. And so he said, “okay.” So we hung up and then about two hours later, he called back and said to me, “we've been able to get the chief in the building, we've been able to get other folks there to make sure that nothing happens to the people here in San Francisco from The People's Temple.” And so after I saw him, perhaps a day later, whatever it was, he just thanked me for, and I said, “Hey, you know, like we’re in this, you know?” It was, I got, I just got the feeling that he was saying “I trust you, I need information if you've got it and if you could help us, help us.” And that's what we attempted to do, of course. That was just one major episode with George.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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