CUP Undergraduate Research

Date of Award


Document Type



School of Management



Degree Name

History, BA

First Advisor

Joel Davis, Ph.D.


Don’t drink the Kool-Aid! Ever heard this term? Where it’s a term that is based off the worst mass suicide ever to happen in the history of the world. Jim Jones a popular preacher in the 1950s to 1970s who taught about social justice. He was breaking ground in race relations, when it was still shady during that time period and he also introduced the idea of a “Utopian Society”.

Struggling with economic, physical and emotional circumstances in his early life, made him realize what his mission was for later in life. It was through these circumstances that led him to form the Peoples Temple and gain such popularity amongst his congregation, and political figures.

In summary, this paper focuses on my theme which is “What made Jim Jones such a popular figure in society”. It explores his background, his teachings, the links of several different counter-culture movements that were happening throughout that time period to his movement, the definition of a cult and examples, and lastly a brief summary of the fateful day, November 1978.

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