The lure of Jonestown

Working as a secretary in the late 1960s, Edith Roller watched as student sit-ins engulfed her office at San Francisco State College. Angered by the college administration’s proffering of student records to the Selective Service for draft purposes, the students protested for months and were met with police in riot gear. Roller, who was in her sixties, was also disturbed by the injustices of the Vietnam War and the racist policies of the U.S. government. She had watched her father, a miner, die from black lung disease and had developed a commitment to helping the weak stand up against the powerful. Now, watching protesting students being beaten bloody by police officers, Roller decided to speak up. She resigned from her position at the university because of the institution’s “outright fascist trends” and sent a press release to local newspapers explaining her decision.


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