Edith Roller – May 24, 1978 – Wednesday

Transcription || PDF from

We rose and had breakfast two hours late this morning. Heavy rain fell most of the day.

The schedule was changed for the junior high school, because they had the space. I could not hold my adult class.

Christine Young had come for the class. I invited her to walk home with me and talk about the class. I told her my usual procedure, described the class to her and showed her the results of my questionnaire. When I told her that I had difficulty keeping the roll, she offered to do this as one of her tasks. We agreed she would attend the rest of the week and see what other way she could most satisfactorily help. Christine told me about attending Angela Davis’s class at SF State just before she came over here. It was decided she should teach “Feminism” as the most safe topic. Her appearances were hedged around with all kinds of restrictions. Most amazingly there were only three black students in the class.

I wrote in my journal and made preparations for my classes.

For the first period class I managed to get the space in the pavilion at the chalkboard. I decided to spend the hour on the definition of certain terms starting with socialism and communism I told the class that under perfect communism there would be no military, no police and no laws but some of the students disagreed with me. An argument developed between Jerome and Willie. Most of the class were passive listeners, if that, even Billy Jones. Seeing Lee Ingram, I called him in to define the terms. He thought it unrealistic to expect a society with no laws and no police.

Peter Wotherspoon came into my second period class today and read poetry to them. It was modern poetry and he worked hard to appeal to their interests but they showed little enthusiasm.

Yesterday I had been prevented from taking my plate to the pavilion for the teachers meeting because of the new rule. So Dick, Jann and I ate on the steps of the school office and discussed a little business.

There was a sister’s meeting at 7.30. The brothers met at 8.00 in the dining pavilion. Jim spent at least half the time at our meeting. Dorothy Rollins was on the floor again for persisting in her attitude toward Sebastian and numerous other unemancipated females followed her including Anitra Greene. Ava who conducted the session complained that women were still building up John Jones’ ego. The worst offenders were put to the new brigade and some were required to wear an ugly sack dress with a sign, “I oppress women”. Jim went into some detail describing as to how the homosexual male goes from woman to woman because he really hates women, told what he had had to do to make men accept their own homosexuality.

The meeting was finally dismissed at about 12.00 but before I got out of the yard we were called back for an alert.

A crisis of unknown proportions had occurred because Leona Collier and Jean Brown in San Francisco had told Albert Kohn, a pro-Soviet friend of ours, about the Guyanese government’s intention to expel Kathy Hunter. Kahn had called the Santa Rosa Press Democrat which employs her and suggested they send a more sympathetic reporter. The result was apparently to embarrass the Guyanese government and to alert forces which persuaded Guyana officials to ground the plane which was to evict Mrs. Hunter. Moreover four of our people who were conducting a surveillance of Mrs. Hunter. Terry Carter, Debbie Touchette, Don Scheid and Daisy Lee were interrogated by the local Georgetown police at some length .  The others held out against admitting anything but Daisy signed a document and can not remember what she had signed. She does not read English well and was intimidated. The police threatened to arrest them all and said they would come back later tomorrow. They had not as yet returned. Jim had ordered they all be taken into hiding. He said he would not ever consent to leave any of our people subjected to court process. Our money was also removed. The danger is that police may be ordered to search our premises in Jonestown. If they try, it will mean war, for which we must be prepared. A hunger strike was mentioned as a method of signifying our commitment to our intention. Dick Tropp and Carolyn Looman were instructed to draw up a statement to this effect and when it was ready, all, 16 and over, filed out to sign it.

At one point in the evening Oreen Poplin arrived. She was preceded by reports that she had given trouble not only in Georgetown but on arrival in Jonestown. She would not eat the food offered her, wanted a brand of cereal called “malt-o-meal.” She wore a diamond ring and wore a money belt, both of which she refused to turn over. She was dressed in a fashion displayed in San Francisco.

Jim had her up on the floor and much discussion took place about the above-mentioned pieces of property. After counseling, argument and other forms of persuasion she finally accepted the necessity of being more agreeable.

As I had worn boots on account of the weather, my foot was giving me a great deal of trouble and though I took the boots off during the two meetings I was afraid the blisters would be worse. We were dismissed at about 5:00 with instructions to stay in bed until 11.00, have breakfast and return to the pavilion.