Margaret Blair Young teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University, but sheâ€™s in love with history, which she indulges in more than chocolate. Her latest project is Heart of Africa, a feature film she scripted that is now in development.
Jane Elizabeth Manning James, a black Mormon pioneer, was known to some Latter-day Saints historians in the latter part of the 20th century but was hardly a household name. Linda King Newell and Valerie Tippets Avery wrote the first well-researched article about Jane in LDS Church publication The Ensign. Subsequent Mormon authors focused on the early years of Janeâ€™s life, particularly on founder Joseph Smith accepting her and her family into his home.
The musical The Book of Mormon portrays two naĂŻve Mormon missionaries in Uganda proclaiming that â€śin 1978, God changed his mind about black people.â€ť The joke isnâ€™t mere whimsy; the LDS Church is widely perceived as racist. The irony is that had the church followed its initial trajectory, by now it likely would have become the most racially integrated and progressive church in America.
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