Jones's Name on Jonestown Memorial -- For Now

Rev. Jim Jones's name on Oakland memorial, despite efforts to the contrary.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 12:03 PM PDT
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Jones's Name on Jonestown Memorial -- For Now

900 Americans were left dead in alleged mass suicide

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In the infamous Jonestown massacre in 1978, 918 people died, including Congressman Leo J Ryan, 305 children, and the Rev. Jim Jones, the founder of the People's Temple and the architect of one of the largest mass suicides in recorded history.

But was Jones a victim?

And should Jones's name be on an Oakland memorial dedicated to the victims' memories?

For now, yes, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday, blocking temporarily the effort of a woman who lost 27 family members to the poisoned Kool-Aid to remove Jones's name from the monument.

Jynona Norwood of the Guyana Tribute Foundation asked a judge fro a restraining order halting the unveiling of the memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland because it includes Rev. Jim Jones's name, the Oakland Tribune reported.

But because the memorial is "virtually completed," and because Norwood's efforts to build a memorial of her own without Jones's name included are still in the nascent stage, there's no immediate standing to halt the unveiling of Evergreen's monument, which is scheduled to be revealed on May 29, wrote Superior Court Judge Robert McGuinness in denying Norwood's request for a temporary restraining order.

The memorial could still be kiboshed. In a second court hearing, scheduled for May 25, Norwood's attorney will argue for a preliminary injunction. But one man very close to the situation thinks what's done is done and the monument, Jones's name and all, should stand.

"The project is done," said Jim Jones Jr., the adopted son of the Rev. Jim Jones and People's Temple founder. Unveiling the memorial will be the first step in ending the controversy behind it, he said, according to the newspaper.

"I'm not here to blame my father," he said. "History has painted him pretty accurately."

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