Kilduff, Marshall: Jim Jones


Marshall Kilduff: Not many church leaders have retinues and entourages that they take with them to every city commission meeting or to every rally, or to every event. And not many of them have this army of handlers, phone-answerers, and yes-men the way this guy did. I mean he would always have dozens of people around him. Nothing was simple. They’re very protective of his image and they wanted Jones to always be seen in the best light; it was a little much; a celebrity kind of preacher in a middle of rung San Francisco politics. Furthermore, there were these odd things about him. He had his own little newspaper where he would constantly talk about Ku Klux Klan attacks on his church, and killer bees coming up from South America, and the latest health care worry. He was always concocting smallish issues into big ones, and he definitely wanted himself to be seen as an edgy leader unafraid of the challenges, and willing to do this and that. But I don’t think it bothered many of the politicians that found him a handy, convenient guy to have on their team, and I’m sure it didn’t bother Mayor Moscone who went to a couple of dinners in his honor that Jones would throw, and certainly appointed him to the Housing Commission. So I think it was a marriage of convenience between a mayor who wanted a White preacher with a Black congregation, and a hungry, ambitious church leader who definitely wanted recognition and some upper mobility.


Media is loading



Date Original



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

Contributing Institution

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

Rights Information

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.