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Jonestown Survivor to speak on life experiences

3/21/2012 —

Laura Johnston Kohl, a survivor of the 1978 Jonestown incident in northwestern Guyana, will speak at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus on Monday, April 9, at noon in the Biomedical Building lecture hall.

Jonestown was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, a community led by Jim Jones. It became internationally notorious when nearly 1,000 people died on November 18, 1978 in the settlement and in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital. In an event termed “revolutionary suicide,” a total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning.

As an idealist and activity for civil and human rights, Kohl met Jim Jones and moved into Peoples Temple in 1970, not knowing that she would barely escape the fate of the others who would die there.

In the past year, Kohl has received several awards, including the National Association of Professional Women award as a 2011-12 Woman of the Year and a nomination for Teacher of the Year 2011-12 at her middle school.

Kohl’s book, “Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look,” was published in March 2010.

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