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Utah historian records history of the first Mormons, black

SALT LAKE CITY – the University of Utah history professor is creating a database to try to record the history of the black Mormons who subscribe to the faith of 1830-1930.

W. Paul Reeve is trying to fill in the gaps in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the collection of information about the often forgotten black-and-members, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

The compilation of the data for the “Century of the Black Mormons” project is a multi-year effort of careful, needle-in-a-haystack-detective work, said Dijkgraaf, the first Simmons Mormon Studies Professor at the university’s College of Humanities.

The idea for the project arose when the Reeve was on a tour to publicize his book about the Mormon faith and race. People would ask him about their origin or black Mormons they had learned, ” he said. It brought him to wonder why a resource is not available to mount on the history of the Mormons.

Reeve then started the database project in 2016 and has since deployed dozens of investigators combing by means of documents, letters, statistical data, Mormon journals, and church archives.

The database collected information on more than 200 people. Some just have the names and personal data, but 40 full biographies with timelines, resources, and photos.

Duke hopes the database will help historians tell a complete story and disrupting the understanding that the faith is always white.

“We need the name of the black Mormons and their stories known,” Reeve said.

The project aims to help scientists and the public know what it means to be a member of a minority in a suspicious minority religion,” Reeve said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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