Flake descendant ironically embodies LDS, pioneer history

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 10:49 p.m. MDT

"I learned about Green Flake when I joined the church in 2007," Latwanna said. "I had great respect for him right off. You don't hear about the black pioneers — there's no real dedication to let black Americans see that history. I think now is the time for us in the church to bring up the black Latter-day Saint pioneers and all that they did."

And for the Flake family, that educational process begins at home. Martin has a 14-year-old son, Colten, from a previous marriage, and Latwanna has a 6-year-old daughter named Nadia. Colten thinks it's "kind of funny" that his little brother, Ethan, can trace his heritage back to both slaves and slave-owners. Nadia doesn't have much to say on the subject except that she thinks they have "a good family."

"What I see here," Latwanna said as she cuddled Ethan on her lap, "is love. That's the message of the gospel — it's a message of love. Through the years our people — black and white, inside the church and outside — have been able to get over the hurdles, get over the hate and the hurt and the fear and just embrace the love."

She gave her son a quick hug. "So that's what I'm doing here," she said, smiling. "I'm just embracing the love."

email: jwalker@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere