Comments about ‘Flake descendant ironically embodies LDS, pioneer history’

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

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gdog3finally
West Jordan, Utah

It's about time this story was told.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

Great story; lovely family. Family history is a captivating family diversion, and it appears this family is having a good time delving into it.

Old Wanderer
Smithfield, UT

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.

Amy T
Suburbs, PA

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.

Chocolate_Saint
Cayce, SC

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.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Great story about some great people, then and now.

tigger
AMERICAN FORK, UT

"embrace the love". Words to live by.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

@ChocolateSaint

Fred 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.

Chocolate_Saint
Cayce, SC

@Johnny T

Thank you for your encouraging words and thank you for sharing this valuable information. I will endeavor to keep my "shoulder to the wheel..."

kargirl
Sacramento, CA

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!

Chocolate_Saint
Cayce, SC

@kargirl

I 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 future.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

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.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

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.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

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 touch hearts.

Latwanna SC
Cayce, SC

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.

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