Etherley, Derrald: Jim Jones


Derrald Etherley: The first time that I met Jim Jones was… Well Don [Bradley] asked me. He said “George gotta go to this church in the Fillmore and the Pastor Jim Jones, I want you to go there and make sure he’s okay.” I didn’t know who Jim Jones was or anything. So George and I go to Jim Jones’ church. It was packed, packed. After George gave his spiel I asked George “Why do they keep on doin’ this and doin’ this?” [ ] I says “Jim Jones was givin’ the people the cue. When to clap, when to laugh, when to do this, or when to shout or whatever.” Then Jim Jones started to come down to the headquarters at 54 Mint Street. Jim Jones, he dressed very elegant, but Don told me to watch him for George. I was young too. I didn’t know what I was watching, but then after I observed him Jim Jones’ nails was manicured, well dressed but the African-Americans around him were raggedy. Just really raggedy and poor and looked like they needed food or whatever. But then myself, I took a liking to Jim Jones for some reason, and I think if he were living today I probably would have joined. I don’t know. But I assigned Larry Griffin to run my Western Edition headquarters, and then I had a headquarters in Hunter’s Point. One in Ocean View, we called it Lake View then. One in Chinatown and the other one was… Jon Rubin: There was another one in the Haight. Derrald Etherley: There was another one in the Haight I believe. So we were gonna have our so-called rally. Get people to pass out literature and whatnot. I’m a morning person so I went around the headquarters at like four in the morning. First Hunter’s Point, lines were doubled around the corner. I mean doubled way before the doors opened, and the rally didn’t start until eight o’clock. So I drive over to the Fillmore, line all around the corner. They weren’t sitting on the pavement. They were standing, waiting. I go over to Ocean View, lines all around the corner. Everywhere I had sites, Jim Jones had packed it two hours before. I didn’t know what he was doing then, but he was muscling, showing his support so when it was all over he’d be an amazing player, and which he was. He was appointed to the Housing Authority Commission by George Moscone.


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

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