DVD Release for Nobody Knows:
A Documentary About African American History in the Mormon Church
PROVO, Utah, May 1st, 2012 — Nobody Knows LLC proudly presents Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons. This documentary tells the story of African Americans in the LDS Church, beginning from the earliest days of the Mormon faith. The DVD release of the film features 72 minutes of footage in addition to 100 minutes of special features.
Praise for Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons
The award-winning documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons has been showcased in a truncated form on the Documentary Channel, where—in addition to regular showings—the film was featured as part of “the Best of Black Documentary Cinema.”
This balanced documentary gives an unflinching look at how the policies and members of the LDS Church played into the topic of race relations from the days of the Old American West through the 21st century. With a political race this November that is likely to feature both an LDS and an African American candidate, the subject matter is becoming increasingly topical.
About the Film
While few are aware of the true extent of African American presence in the LDS Church, the reality is that Black members of the LDS Church were prominent in Mormon history from the faith’s earliest days. One of the vanguard companies of Mormon pioneers included three “colored servants” (slaves), and subsequent pioneer companies included both freeborn Blacks (such as Jane Manning James) and enslaved Blacks.
This documentary delves into that little-known legacy, and confronts the hard issues which surfaced in the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, when the Church continued to restrict its priesthood from those of African descent (a policy put into place in 1852). The film discusses the context for that restriction, and how it was finally lifted. It also addresses the challenges of modern Black Mormon pioneers.
The DVD includes interviews with renowned scholars, theologians, historians, and sociologists, as well as many African American Mormons and descendants of Black Mormon pioneers. Prominent individuals interviewed include Pastor Cecil Murray, Dr. Armand Mauss, Dr. Newell Bringhurst, Martin Luther King III, and Darius Aidan Gray.
First released in 2009, the current DVD edition features an extended cut of the film and 100 minutes of special features.
About the Filmmakers
Filmmakers Darius Aidan Gray and Margaret Blair Young are respected as authorities on African American history in the American west. Gray and Young cooperatively authored the acclaimed trilogy Standing on the Promises and worked together to produce a short documentary on Jane Manning James.
Young has authored six encyclopedia articles and other scholarly papers on Blacks in the western United States, as well as the stage play I Am Jane. Young also headed the documentary project The Wisdom of Our Years, which featured Civil Rights–related stories of Black Utah residents. Gray has served as an LDS Church spokesman for African American issues (including the Freedman Bank genealogical project), gives frequent lectures on Black history and genealogy, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices.”
DVD bonus materials include:
- Bonus interviews with prominent experts on Civil Rights, Black history, and Mormonism.
- Additional “untold stories” of present-day Black Mormons.
- Tape recordings that capture the faith, struggles, and insights of Black Mormons throughout the 20th century.
- Video content that comes from decades of never-seen footage.
- And more!
See this You Tube Link for a 9 minute overview.