Few people, Mormon and non-Mormon, are aware that there has been an African American presence in the LDS Church from its earliest days, that the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers included three “colored servants” who were baptized Mormons, and whose descendants remained active in the Church for several generations. This documentary talks about that little-known legacy, and confronts the hard issues which surfaced in the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, when the Church restricted its priesthood from those of African descent. It discusses how that restriction was lifted and what the lives and challenges of the modern Black Mormon pioneers are. Besides never-released footage shot in 1968 and many rare archival photographs, the documentary includes interviews with renowned scholars, historians, Black Mormons, with Martin Luther King III, and with Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired pastor of the First AME Church of Los Angeles, which was founded by a former slave of Mormon pioneers.
Executive Producer: Richard Dutcher; additional editing, Danor Gerald