LAURA JOHNSTON KOHL

Laura Johnston Kohl grew up as an activist in Washington, D.C., and watched as many of her heroes were assassinated in the 1960s. While she was in high school and college, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and others were killed.  That had a huge impact on her.  She attended college in Connecticut and continued her commitment to work for change and to make a difference.  While exercising her civil rights to protest peacefully, she was tear-gassed while protesting the war in Viet Nam.  After a brief marriage, a visit to Woodstock, and a stint working with the Black Panthers, she moved to California to join her sister.  Soon after that, she was introduced to Peoples Temple and spent the next nine years in California and Guyana.  She was away from Jonestown on the day when 913 of her friends and family died.  The next twenty years were spent recovering, and rebuilding her life.  For the first ten years, she lived in Synanon, a residential community.  The following ten years, with her husband and young son, she began rebuilding her life.  She earned her BA in philosophy/psychology, and then earned her California Teaching Credential.  She also found some peace by becoming a Quaker.  In the last ten years, she has become a public speaker about Peoples Temple and is on the Speakers’ Bureau of the Jonestown Institute.  She has been interviewed locally, nationally, and internationally on television, on radio, in newspapers, in documentaries, and for research papers.  She has written many articles about the details of life in Peoples Temple and her survival.  For the past ten years, she has written a wide-range of articles in the annual Jonestown Report. She is an annual speaker at the Communal Studies Association Conference, and her scholarly work is published in their Communal Societies Journal.

In March 2010, she published her own book, JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider’s Look.  She continues to make frequent speeches locally and nationally about her experiences.  She and her family live in San Diego, California, and she is a bilingual public school teacher and Quaker. She has been chosen as “A Woman of the Year 2011-12″ by the National Association for Professional Women. She was also nominated as “Teacher of the Year” by her middle school. In October 2012, she was added to the Board of Directors of the Communal Studies Association. She is a member of ReadLocal San Diego, and Writers and Publishers of San Diego, as well as other authors’ groups. The audio recording of her book will be published within the next few months.

JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider’s Look is available in print or in eBook format on amazon.com. (Publisher iUniverse). It is also available on Nook, through Barnes and Noble.

Laura Johnston Kohl can be reached at ljohnstonkohl@gmail.com. You may also contact Laura through this website.