Black Members of the Church Research Guide
As is the case with most research on individuals, researching the lives and experiences of black Latter-day Saints requires historical detective work. Primary sources for one individual are often included in the papers or records for another. In addition to these primary sources, there are a few general resources that provide good starting points for understanding the history of black Latter-day Saints.
The Gospel Topics essay “Race and the Priesthood” was published with the authorization of the First Presidency in 2013 and provides an overview of the history and policy related to blacks and the priesthood. The essay’s footnotes identify many useful sources for historical context, individual experiences, statements of policy, and historical analysis.
Century of Black Mormons is an online database that presents documented biographical information for individual black Mormons baptized between 1830 and 1930. The database is overseen by historian W. Paul Reeve and hosted by the University of Utah, J. Willard Marriot Library. This is not a Church-sponsored website, and the Church does not endorse the content.
BlackPast.org is an online reference guide to African American history that is “dedicated to providing information to the general public on African American history and on the history of the more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world.”1 The site contains primary sources, time lines, research guides, and encyclopedia entries about historical landmarks, historically black colleges and universities, and black individuals, including black Latter-day Saints. Entries are written by historians and include citations to primary sources. This is not a Church-sponsored website, and the Church does not endorse the content.