Sunday, December 27, 2015

Just One New Year's Resolution for 2016

Just one New Year's Resolution this coming year: finish my book.

The book is called Slaves in Zion: African American Servitude in Utah Territory, and is under contract with an academic publisher. It will tell the story of approximately 100 African American slaves who lived in Utah Territory between 1847 and 1862. 

Why 1847 and 1862? 

In 1847 the first three African American slaves, Oscar (Crosby) Smith, Hark (Lay) Wales, and Green Flake, entered the Salt Lake Valley several days ahead of Brigham Young.

In 1862 Congress ended slavery in the territories and the blacks who remained enslaved in Utah were freed.

About a quarter of the 100 slaves in the story went to San Bernardino in 1851. At least one man lived his entire life in Utah, from birth to death, and some of his descendants still live in the Salt Lake Valley. It has been a real pleasure to work with the descendants of the slaves, and with local historians, academics, and librarians all over the Western United States.

A number of authors and historians have told parts of the story of African American slavery in Utah Territory, but the time had come to use the many resources now available online to figure out what was legend and what was fact, and give an accurate and honest account of the lives of these many men, women, and children.


  1. What a great undertaking. We look forward to the finished product.