In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader.

In The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America.

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Seth Bruggeman of Temple University reveals why George Washington’s status as a Virginian made him a symbol of national unity. 

Seth Bruggeman is an associate professor of history and Director of the Center for Public History at Temple University. As a historian specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States cultural history, his research focuses on material culture, memory studies, and Public History. He earned his Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary.