Please see Freedmen’s Bureau Project for information and  videos on a wonderful family history project. The site will show a special June 19th broadcast from the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Freedmen’s Bureau Project

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project is helping African Americans reconnect with their Civil War­era ancestors. Join us in restoring thousands of records and linking  milli…
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Speakers and music will accompany the announcement of an exciting opportunity called the “Freedmen’s Bureau Project” to help African-Americans connect to their Civil War era ancestors through indexing and restoring the records of millions of freed slaves. The speakers during the broadcast will outline how groups and individuals around the globe can help with the project.

Mormon in Mali Works with Muslims in a Critical Struggle

Please read this powerful story of Yeah Samake, a Mormon leader in Mali who is working with the moral majority of Muslims to secure a democracy. They are fighting against Al Qaeda and others who strive to kidnap Islam.

See also his comments of the importance of President Obama’s 2008 election and ongoing opportunities; and the role that Mitt Romney has taken and could yet take in helping his country and ours.

Pastor to Pastor: President Hinckley’s Personal Apology for Racism in the Church

Read for the article by Maragaret Blair Young. Here are excerpts:

“Yes, there are children of light and children of darkness, but the distinction is not based on skin color, but on their reception of the Word. And even with the children of darkness who turn away from the Word, God works earnestly for their repentance from their evil ways. God yearns for their return unto the embrace of Creation” (Pastor Cecil Murray in Twice Tested by Fire).

Just before Pastor Murray came to BYU, he met with Gordon B. Hinckley. In that meeting, President Hinckley offered him an apology for the LDS Church’s participation in slavery and in racism—using the same spirit Pastor Murray had urged me to use when I approached my angry son. In truth, Dr. Murray himself had some cause for anger; he had personally been confronted by the past Mormon teaching that Blacks were cursed. In an email on April 7, 2007, he told me, “In the Air Force I first encountered this teaching when stationed at Thule, Greenland, and lodging with two Mormons. They reminded me of this teaching constantly.”

Certainly, many things led President Hinckley to speak boldly against racism during April Conference, 2006. Perhaps Pastor Murray even had an effect. President Hinckley said: “[N]o man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ . . . How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color, is ineligible?”

This is the tribute Pastor Murray paid to his fellow pastor, President Gordon B. Hinckley:

President Hinckley is a true messenger of our Lord. Two years ago, I was invited to Salt Lake City by the LDS Church, and President Hinckley took his personal time to sit with our small group that was touring the many ministries and apologized to me in front of the group. That was amazing! Now the [LDS] Church pushes Blacks to learn their lineage via the Church. That will open eyes and doors that will open new avenues of life.

See in the Long Trailer where Pastor Murray recounts his conversation with President Hinckley.


Flake descendant ironically embodies LDS, pioneer history

Deseret News – July 23, 2012

When Brigham Young first entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, he did so in the back of a fine, white carriage donated to the Mormon pioneer leader by a faithful follower, James Madison Flake.

Young was ill and couldn’t drive the rig himself, so Green Flake drove the carriage and was among those who actually heard Young say, “This is the right place.”

And then, speaking to Green Flake, Young added, “Drive on!” Green Flake, at that time a black slave, was later given his freedom by Young. …

For a poem about Green Flake, see

Also of interest

May 2012 NY Times Article

Here is a statement from a May 2012 NY Times article:

“While the church does not track members by race, there are thriving Mormon churches with hundreds of black members today in many urban areas, including Washington, Chicago and New York, although African-Americans represent only a tiny fraction of the six million Mormons in the United States.”

Paul Sleet, a black computer systems engineer and photographer in St. Louis, joined the Mormon Church in 1989. He has five children, one of whom is serving as a missionary.

“Everything the church represents seems to be more clearly represented by Michelle and Barack Obama,” he said.

“I’m 100 percent Mormon and committed to my religion,” he said, “but I’ve never really thought about whether I’d have the same pride in a Mormon being elected president.

Here is the article:

DVD Release for Nobody Knows

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.”

Special Features

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!
The DVD is priced at $19.99 + S/H and can be purchased at The website also provides additional information on the documentary, news on upcoming events and showings, an extended nine minute trailer for the film.

A Web Site Dedicated to Black Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints