Ruffin Bridgeforth; First African American Mormon High Priest (obituary from Los Angeles Times online)
April 11, 1997
Ruffin Bridgeforth, 74, the first African American to be ordained a high priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many years, Bridgeforth was the only black face in his congregation. Nevertheless, he was at peace with the church and went on to be ordained. He served as president of the Genesis Group, which was a support group for black Mormons. Bridgeforth was ordained in 1978 after then-President Spencer W. Kimball said a revelation led him to change the church policy that had banned African Americans from leadership. Bridgeforth was active in the Mormon Church for a quarter-century before he was made a high priest. A native of Louisiana, he moved to Utah in 1944, worked for the Army and later was a conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad. On March 23 in Sandy, Utah.
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