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Intellect

Margaret Young shares “Untold Stories of Black Mormons” at BYU

Margaret Young, a Brigham Young University English professor and one of the producers of Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, gave a lecture Wednesday titled “Faith, Hope, Charity and Telling Our Stories: How We Unite in Our Communal Journey.”

Her lecture included a handful of stories from the lives of Elijah Able, Jane Elizabeth Manning James, Eliza Partridge Lyman, Green Flake and others, all black members of the early Church.

In one of the most poignant messages of how the stories of black pioneers intertwine with other family histories, Young shared the experience of Judge Benjamin Hayes, who in the 1850s emancipated 14 black slaves. Just a month later, one of those same freed men saved Judge Hayes’ son from being crushed to death by the wheels of a buggy.

Another story was of Jane James who gave half of the little flour she had left to Eliza Partridge Lyman. In speaking of her trials, Jane said even though her little ones cried with hunger, “in all the Lord was with us and gave us grace and faith to stand it all.”

Young explained that studying these stories made the families in these histories feel like her family, too. “I think that is ultimately the role of history, not to give just a bunch of facts,” she said.

Her hope is that these stories will build sensitivity and empathy in others.

Young made her presentation as part of Black History Month at BYU. Remaining events this month include:

  • A symposium at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in 3228 Wilkinson Student Center, where Chris Crowe, professor of English, will discuss the murder of Emmett Till;
  • A special FHE program at the Education in Zion exhibit (B-192 JFSB) Monday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m.: Black (Church) History Month;
  • Perspectives from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in 3228 Wilkinson Student Center, where BYU students will present dance, music and art from their cultures;
  • A special FHE program at the Education in Zion exhibit (B-192 JFSB) Monday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m.: Black (Church) History Month;
  • Multicultural Student Services will sponsor the showing of Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium;
  • University Forum at 11:05 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the Marriott Center, where neurosurgeon and author Benjamin Carson will be the featured speaker.
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