Author Topic: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.  (Read 2463 times)

SJK

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There's this very interesting website called Letters of Note,  their mission "is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated every weekday.". Today I saw this letter, a defence of Jim Jones and immediately thought of Mike. See the link for context...


http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/02/in-defence-of-jim-jones.html

Quote
Transcript

    CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

    BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
    CITY HALL, SAN FRANCISCO 94102
    SUPERVISOR HARVERY MILK

    February 19, 1978

    President Jimmy Carter
    The White House
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear President Carter:

    I am the Supervisor for District Five in the City of San Francisco. The Peoples Temple Christian Church is not located in my District, so I have no political ties or obligations to this church. I am writing to call an urgent concern of theirs to your attention. I am concerned at what I understand is the endorsement of some of our Congressmen for the efforts of Timothy Stoen against Rev. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. There are some facts I feel you should be informed of:

    Rev. Jones is widely known in the minority communities here and elsewhere as a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness. He is also highly regarded amongst church, labor, and civic leaders of a wide range of political persuasions. Our own Board of Supervisors has presented Rev. Jones with a Certificate of Honor, unanimously passed by all members, praising the church for its many projects "which have been so beneficial to all the citizens of the Bay Area." On the same occasion, he was also presented with a unanimously passed resolution by a Republican State Senator, Milton Marks representing that legislative body.

    Timothy and Grace Stoen, the parties that are attempting to damage Rev. Jones' reputation, and seriously disrupt the life of his son, John, have both already been discredited in the news media here. The most widely-read columnist in the area, Herb Caen, printed Mr. Stoen's sworn testimony that John is not his child but rather Rev. Jones. Grace Stone is reported involved in what could be considered a blackmail attempt against another leader in the minority community, Dennis Banks, reported in the two major dailies with her name also given in Mr. Banks' sworn affadavit about the attempt.

    It is outrageous that Timothy Stoen could even think of flaunting this situation in front of our Congressmen with apparently bold-faced lies. I have learned in addition, that he has pressured these Congressmen towards unwitting compliance with promoting State Department intervention in the custody case now pending in Guyana.

    Not only is the life of a child at stake , who presently has loving protective parents in Rev. and Mrs. Jones, but our official relations with Guyana could stand to be jeopardized, to the potentially great embarassment of our State Department.

    Mr. President, the actions of Mr. Stoen need to be brought to a halt. It is offensive to most in the San Francisco community, and all those who know Rev. Jones to see this kind of an outrage taking place.

    Respectfully,

    (Signed, 'Harvey Milk')

    Harvey Milk

    cc: Rep. John Burton; Rep. Phillip Burton; Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally

« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 09:09:29 AM by SJK »

NJL

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 04:13:50 PM »
I can see this starting something pretty ugly on the internet.

B_Buster

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 04:35:07 PM »
Why? Hindsight is always 20/20. Milk wasn't the only one duped by Jones.
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Sarah

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 04:56:27 PM »
I was going to say the same thing, Mike.  And, in any case, how hard is it to start something ugly on the Internet, anyway?

SJK

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 05:58:45 PM »
Milk believed Jones was a stand up guy. I believe Milk was genuinely trying to help a member of the community he thought was being unfairly targeted. I didn't see anything negative in that and the link to the site points out the sequence of events.

Also, I thought Milk was an excellent movie. Not a big Sean Penn fan, he did an outstanding job. I didn't know about Harvey Milk before the film and was amazed and saddened by his story.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 06:31:34 PM by SJK »

masterofsparks

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010, 06:31:57 PM »
Also, I thought Milk was an excellent movie. Not a big Sean Penn fan, he did an outstanding job. I didn't know about Harvey Milk before the film and was amazed and saddened by his story.

If you haven't seen the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, you should.
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SJK

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 08:45:40 PM »
Just watched it on itunes...truly remarkable story. Thanks for the suggestion MOS!

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: A letter by Harvey Milk defending Jim Jones, before Jonestown massacre.
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 10:22:08 PM »
Milk was also a pretty savvy politician, as illustrated by his alliance with the Teamsters in Milk.  Jones was probably just a plain old political ally.
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