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  • Source: https://familysearch.org/tree-data/person/K2V6-8VS/all?locale=en
    Jane Elizabeth Manning (1812 - 1908)
    Residence : 1st Ward Great Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States - 1860
  • Oscar Crosby (c.1815 - 1870)
    "...Crosby, Oscar – (13th Ten) Born about 1815, to Vilate Crosby, an African descendant. She was a slave of William Crosby, one of the Mississippi converts. Oscar Crosby was baptized at Mormon Springs ...
  • Hark Lay (1825 - c.1890)
    "...Lay, Hark – (13th Ten) Born in 1825 in Monroe Co., Miss., the son of African slaves of the William Lay household. He was baptized in Mormon Springs near his home, and was given as a marriage gift t...
  • Biddy Mason (1818 - 1891)
    Wikipedia Biographical Summary: "...After petitioning the courts in 1856, Mason won freedom for herself and her daughters. She moved her family to L.A. and worked as a midwife and a nurse. After work...
  • Green Flake (1828 - 1903)
    "...Flake, Green – (14th Ten) Born in January 1828 in Anson Co., N.C., a slave of African descent on the plantation of William Jordan Flake. At age 20, he was given as a gift to James Madison Flake. He...

Early Mormonism had a range of doctrines related to race in regard to black people of African descent. References to black people, their social condition during the 19th century, and their spiritual place in Western Christianity as well as Mormon scriptures were complicated.

From the beginning, black people have been members of Mormon congregations, though there were varying degrees and forms of discrimination against blacks. When the Mormons migrated to Missouri they encountered the pro-slavery sentiments of their neighbors. Joseph Smith, Jr. upheld the laws regarding slaves and slaveholders, and affirmed the curse of Ham as placing his descendants into slavery, "to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South," but remained abolitionist in his actions and doctrines. After the Mormons were expelled from Missouri, Smith took an increasingly strong anti-slavery position, and a few black men were ordained to the LDS priesthood.

Source: Wikipedia: Black people and early Mormonism

Some Prominent Black Mormons

  • Century of Black Mormons
  • Elijah Abel became the third known black convert to the LDS church, being baptized in 1832. He received the priesthood in 1836, and served 3 missions to Ohio, NY, and Canada. He helped build the Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake Temples, received his washing and anointing in the Kirtland Temple, but was denied the endowment by Brigham Young in 1853.
  • Black Pete. According to historian Mark Staker, Black Pete was an ex slave living in Kirtland 1830 or 31. Journal accounts say that he was baptizing people in Kirtland during this time period.
  • Joseph T Ball was baptized in the summer of 1832 by either Brigham Young or his brother Joseph Young. Ball was the Boston Branch president from October 1844 to March 1845 – the largest LDS congregation outside of the Nauvoo area.
  • Samuel Chambers was born a slave who joined the LDS church in Mississippi. Freed after the Civil War, his wife and family traveled to Utah County in 1870, and he was an active member.
  • Green Flake was a slave, and was baptized in 1844 in the Mississippi River by John Brown. (James Madison Flake was Green’s owner, and was given Green as a wedding present by James’ father. Green was age 10 at the time.) Brigham Young released Green from slavery in 1854. Green was the person to whom Brigham was speaking when Brigham said his famous quote, “This is the Place”. Slaves Oscar Crosby and Hark Lay were in this wagon party as well.
  • Jane Manning James joined the church in Buffalo, NY in the 1830’s, and then walked the entire distance from there to Nauvoo. She received poor reception by Nauvoo saints (“with much rebuff”), but Joseph Smith was very welcoming and hospitable. He offered to adopt her as a child into the Smith household. She declined because she didn’t understand the implications.
  • Walker Lewis joined the LDS church in the summer of 1843. He was probably baptized by Parley P Pratt in the fall of 1843.
  • Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, son of Walker Lewis, was an ordained elder as well. Enoch Lewis’ 1846 marriage to a white LDS woman, Mary Matilda Webster in Boston, and their having a mixed-race child in 1847, was a contributing factor to the Priesthood ban.
  • Biddy Smith Mason was a slave born in Georgia. Her master, Robert Smith, converted to the LDS church, and moved to Utah, and then California. Since California was a free state, she sued and was granted her freedom before Smith could transfer her to the slave state of Texas.
  • William McCary was ordained an Elder by Apostle Orson Hyde in October 1846. He was known as the “black prophet.” William was later excommunicated in 1847 for seducing a number of Mormon, white women into unauthorized polygamy.
  • Isaac Van Meter. Wilford Woodruff’s journal says Van Meter “used to be a Mormon elder.” He was probably baptized by Ball or Woodruff in Maine around 1837. Apparently, Van Meter left the LDS church.

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