Black Mormon Pioneers

Jane Manning

Elijah Abel

On Sat., Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m., the Genesis Group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present “A Special Destiny”, the powerful, compelling and little-known stories of the devotion and sacrifice of early Church pioneers who were African-Americans.
The play will  feature the biographies of some of the more notable of these pioneers including Jane Manning James, Elijah Abel, Green Flake and others, freed persons and slaves, who joined the Church prior to and  walked, pushed hand cards and drove wagons as part of the Church’s  westward  trek from Illinois to  establish a new home in Utah in the mid-1850s. The play will also feature Negro spirituals such as “Deep River”,  “Every Time I Feel De’  Spirit.”, “Give Me Jesus” and others.
“The Genesis Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in 1971 as a response to needs identified by a small group of Black members  to help with retention and re-activation of the descendants of Black Pioneers and other Black members who had subsequently joined the Church”, said Sterling Stevenson, President of the local Genesis Chapter.  “We are presenting this play to  celebrate the lives of these pioneers and to inform those who did not know, that African Americans  have been part of the Church since its inception and that we helped build the Church’s rich heritage.”
All are welcome.  Admission is free. For more information concerning the event, contact Ronald McClain at 510-813-5431 or