Green Flake – Black Pioneer
Provo Daily Herald, UT – Green Flake is one of the three black pioneers whose names are immortalized on the back of the Brigham Young monument in Salt Lake City.
He was born in North Carolina as a slave and was given as a wedding present to James and Agnes Flake when he was 10 years old. Green and the Flake family later moved to Mississippi where the Flakes joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“My sense is there was not coercion to make the slaves join,” said historian Margaret Young. “I do not know how much they were taught, but they did not have to join.”
A few weeks after James and Agnes Flake were baptized, records show Green and one other Flake slave were baptized, too. The Flake family records, which include a biography of William Jordan Flake by Osmer Flake, state that the family decided to travel to Illinois to gather with the Mormons in 1844.
They gave each slave a choice whether or not to stay in Mississippi. Green Flake and another slave named Liz Flake chose to make the journey. Green and the Flake family arrived in Nauvoo, Ill., in April 1844.
Three years later, Green Flake was pointed out as one of the stronger slaves and chosen to join Brigham Young, then president of the church, and the Vanguard Company as the first pioneers to reach the Salt Lake Valley….(article may no longer be available in link above)
See also http://www.blacklds.org/community/green-flake-and-abraham-poem
11 thoughts on “Green Flake – Black Pioneer”
I am a great-great grandson of John Brown who baptized Brother Flake. I remember as a child my grandmother, Cornelia Staker Peterson, telling me about Grandpa Brown and later I inherited a first edition copy of Grandpa Brown’s published journal. I have read it through several times and have always been moved by the story of baptizing Brother Flake and have somehow felt a strong kinship with him. I would finding out more about this remarkable and inspiring man.
My thanks for your efforts.
This is a really great article. I am a descendant of James Flake and found this to be quite informative. Thanks for the article 🙂
Shelly R which James Flake did he live in Idaho?
Green Flake lived with James and Agnes Flake who came from NC to MS to IL to UT. This James Flake died on a mission to CA. Green Flake eventually moved to ID, but I do not know what other Flakes were with him.
This is a nice article. I am a descendant of Green Flake.
Would like too know If Green Flake is related to Biddy Mason? Also, are the Flakes blood related to the BROWN FAMILY?
James Flake is my great, great, great grandfather. Does anyone know if its true that the wagon Brigham Young made his famous statement from (This is the Place), belonged to James Flake, and that Green was in the wagon with him. I have a family history book that states he was, but I cannot find another realiable source.
Green Flake was not related to Biddy Smith Mason. The Flakes are not blood related to the Flake family, though slaves of the Flakes and the Crosby/Brown families knew each other. When Green moved to Idaho, his wife (Martha) had died. His two children, Lucinda and Abraham, were in Idaho. Green’s body was sent by train to Utah when he died in 1903. He was buried in the Union cemetery. I personally think that Green was the driver of the wagon which held Brigham Young.
Thank you for the story , my husband is acually a son of the morman pioneers , I have known this for a very long time and now our son has a family tree assiment and my husband Kenny Myers son of Marie flake great granddaughter of green flake . Because we are from Utah it’s great to see and hear the responds ,
Hello, I am doing an assignment for Black History Month on Green Flake at my Church, it would be great if you could send me any more detailed info on brother Green.
Notes and other links to stories about Green Flake:
Green Flake: Who Can Tell His Story?
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