skip to main contentThe University of Texas at Austin
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
AboutPresidentsPhotojournalistsCenter for American HistoryViewing ToolsLearning Tools
David Hume Kennerly
Mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, © David Hume Kennerly, UT Center for American History

Photograph by: David Hume Kennerly, 1978
In Jonestown, Guyana, 917 members of Jim Jones' cult committed mass suicide—many by drinking from a tub of cyanide-laced purple punch.
audio clip"Jonestown", David Hume Kennerly - transcript
Did you know?
Jim Jones was the charismatic leader of the People's Temple, an organization helping the desperate in San Francisco in the mid-1970s. Adverse publicity caused Jones to move the Temple's operations to the remote jungles of Guyana. Continued allegations of abuse led Congressman Leo Ryan to investigate the Temple in November, 1978. The visit ended in total tragedy, as Jones had Ryan and his party killed, then killed himself and most of his followers.
Click below to enlarge photographs:

David Hume Kennerly captures a helicopter on a hot landing zone near Khe San, Vietnam.Robert F. Kennedy at his California victory celebration on June 5, 1968Muhammad Ali is knocked down by Joe Frazier.
Two GI's in VietnamEgyptian President Anwar SadatMass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana

See other photojournalists

Dirck Halstead

Diana Walker

Wally McNamee

David Hume Kennerly
The Briscoe Center for American History