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In this Dialogue podcast Quincy Newell discusses “Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon.” From the Miller Eccles website:
A free black woman from Connecticut, Jane James positioned herself at the center of LDS history with uncanny precision. After her conversion, she traveled with her family and other converts from the region to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the LDS church was then based. There, she took a job as a servant in the home of Joseph Smith, the founder and first prophet of the LDS church. When Smith was killed in 1844, Jane found employment as a servant in Brigham Young’s home. These positions placed Jane in proximity to Mormonism’s most powerful figures, but did not protect her from the church’s racially discriminatory policies. Nevertheless, she remained a faithful member until her death in 1908.
Your Sister in the Gospel is the first scholarly biography of Jane Manning James or, for that matter, any black Mormon. Quincy D. Newell chronicles the life of this remarkable yet largely unknown figure and reveals why James’s story changes our understanding of American history.”