John, that would be an interesting talk. :) Thanks for your comments and I
really appreciate your input. I've shared the DVD Untold Story of Black
Mormons and I was a coordinator for the AAOP (African American Outreach Program)
to share the Blacks in the Scriptures DVD for a while, but did not receive much
interest or support from my local leaders. Hopefully the church's recent
article on Race and the Priesthood will start a new chapter of efforts to share
the stories about all black pioneers in the church. I'm not a member of the
church anymore, but I continue to support the efforts of church members to share
truth in all areas of the church's history and I maintain regular
fellowship for that purpose. Perhaps I will be in attendance the morning of that
special talk on African American Pioneers during black history month or pioneer
day in the future.
Here in Michigan we had a screening of the film "Nobody Knows: The Untold
Story of Black Mormons" that I know lead to a much more positive view of the
LDS Church by some African-American people who saw it.Gladys Knight
and her "Saints Unified Voices" Choir came and performed as well. Sister Flake, I can see how things would be quite disheartening. You can
easily get most of the Blacks in the Scriptures and other helpful resources on
line. Sharing them with ward members on a one on one basis or in small groups
might help.Maybe you could try and see if you could give a sacrament
talk on "what African-Americans really think of the LDS Church, and how we
can change this."In the bio of Elder Dube, the newly called
general authority from Zimbabwe, we learn that he was the only black member when
he first went to a branch in Zimbabwe made up of much higher class white people,
but talking about the Book of Mormon which he had already read caused him to
have a feeling of unity. Don't under estimate the power of the gospel to
I have never heard Green Flake mentioned in any talk in Church. To conduct
outreach to African Americans we have to mention and praise African Americans.
This is especially true since there is still a belief by many African-Americans
that the Church is racist. I really like Sister Flake's attitude and hope
she gets more changes to share the story of Green Flake.If we want
to see African Americans come into the Church in large numbers we have to
proactively fight the image that the Church is racist. Saying that we
"ignore race in telling history" is not the answer to the issue. It
comes off as beligerant actually.
This is an exciting story of progress and hope. I am glad to see people move
beyond previous divisions and divides. I look forward to the day
when someone being descend from both pioneers and slaves will not be termed
"ironic" but will be very common and usual. However I will take what I
can get for now.
@kargirlI read that post also and it was a great read. Thanks for
your comments and you are quite welcome. Most likely you will have an
opportunity to hear more about how "Little Green" is doing in the
I kept thinking of Sistas in Zion's last post, about the Trek...genealogy
is so fascinating, and I am encouraged reading this. Your story is so
fascinating, I'd love to know more. Thank you for sharing!
@Johnny TThank you for your encouraging words and thank you for
sharing this valuable information. I will endeavor to keep my "shoulder to
@ChocolateSaintFred Parker is a new area authority seventy, I assume
around Atlanta where he's from. You should get him to come and talk to
your ward, he was a great example of putting your shoulder to the wheel and
getting things done to our Atlanta (mostly inner-city) Ward. He welcomed and
treated white or black with the same love. He'd be a great resource to
use.My trips to central South Carolina sure opened my eyes to
'the other side of the tracks' quite literally. The social divide is
there and understandable and unfortunate. Blatant racism might be on the
decline but the divide exists and can really hurt relationships. Good luck to
you as you try to bridge that gap for new converts.
"embrace the love". Words to live by.
Great story about some great people, then and now.
To Old Wanderer. Hello there! I would like to say thank you for your comments
and for sharing fond memories. This is a comment from Latwanna from the
article. :o)I would like to clarify that there is no effort in the stake where
we live to share black history in the church at this time. For instance, I
learn about Blacks in the Scriptures firesides and black history month programs
being held in other chapels in the country, but we have yet to take those steps
in our own stake. The church is the same everywhere we go, but each ward and
stake does things differently. Does that make sense? Living in South Carolina
is quite different than living in Utah. Some areas of the state are a tad bit
socially segregated, so to speak. We also have wards that are predominantly
white congregations in neighborhoods where the demographic is split down the
middle between blacks and whites. The attrition rate is high for blacks getting
baptized in our stake, and we are waiting patiently for the organization of a SC
Genesis Group so that we can help black members to go beyond baptism and endure
to the end.
That's a nice article. Thanks to the Flake family for sharing your
story.I don't know that there has been any time that the story
hasn't been told, gdog3finally; Green Flake was a regular speaker at
Pioneer Day celebrations toward the end of his life, including the great 50th
anniversary celebration in 1897. He died in 1903 and toward the end of his life
he was one of the few surviving members of the trek and he was remembered
regularly in the newspapers. His funeral was a big event and was covered in the
Deseret Evening News.Green Flake was also remembered in some detail
in the 1965 Daughters of Utah Pioneers publication, The Negro Pioneer, and has
been remembered in a variety of other books, dissertations, and articles.One quibble about this article. Green Flake wasn't driving the
carriage when Brigham Young entered the Valley; Wilford Woodruff was. Green
Flake was in Orson Pratt's advance party, as mentioned later in the
article, so he entered the Valley several days earlier. He was the very first to
drive a wagon into Emigration Canyon, and that may be the source of confusion
about this story.
I don't know that there has been any real attempt on the part of church or
civil authorities to hide black history in the church as there was a sense that
color didn't matter. I've known since my early childhood that there
were slaves in the small Cache Valley town I grew up in. One of the
most memorable days in my life was when I read in San Jose that the priesthood
was being extended to all righteous male members. That day was followed closely
by a time when, as a counsellor in the Elders' Quorum, I looked around a
circle of priesthood holders and I saw whites, latinos, a philipino, an eskimo
and a vietnamese. All brothers in the gospel and all sons of our Father.
Great story; lovely family. Family history is a captivating family diversion,
and it appears this family is having a good time delving into it.
It's about time this story was told.