Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon, by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Quincy Newell, was recently released by Oxford University Press.
Described by the publisher as the “the first scholarly biography of Jane Manning James or, for that matter, any black Mormon,” Your Sister in the Gospel chronicles the life of a largely unknown free black woman from Connecticut who became a central figure in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
James converted to Mormonism in the 1840s. She was employed as a servant by Joseph Smith, founder of the church of Latter-day Saints, and by Brigham Young, after Smith’s death. Though these positions placed her with some of the most powerful LDS figures, James was not protected from the church’s racially discriminatory policies that prohibited her from performing the temple rituals central to Mormon beliefs.