Play honors life of early African-American Latter-day Saint

by | Jun. 08, 2010

Arts & Entertainment

African-American Latter-day Saints are remembering an important anniversary in their faith and honoring the memory of pioneer Jane Manning James with an up-coming play about her life.

Jane was an early African-American member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She lived with Joseph and Emma Smith in Nauvoo and traveled to the Salt Lake Valley, suffering prejudices with courage. The play "I Am Jane" honors her legacy.

"Because she did it under those circumstances, I can do it, and my children will be able to do it," says Tamu Smith, who plays the part of Jane in the play. "I think that it would be very difficult to be the first, but I'm very glad that she was."

Throughout her life, Jane petitioned Church leaders to receive temple sealing ordinances but was denied.

"Her story resonated with me as a person of faith, one who endured many trials, yet was so forgiving and so committed to what she believed in," says Keith Hamilton, the play's executive producer.

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