African American pioneers celebrated in new monument

The new monument honors pioneers, both free and enslaved, Green Flake, Hark Wales, Oscar Smith and Jane Manning James. 

UTAH (ABC4) – State and religious leaders joined today to dedicate the Pioneers of 1847 monument. 

The monument depicts four African American pioneers who were integral in the Mormon Migration and the settlement of Utah.  

Hundreds of people celebrated the representation of African American pioneers and recognized Utah’s history in an effort to go forward and create a more inclusive state. 

The new monument honors pioneers, both free and enslaved, Green Flake, Hark Wales, Oscar Smith and Jane Manning James. 

“Adding our black pioneers and enslaved pioneers especially helps us see the full scope of our history and that allows us to be more sensitive to the topics we talk about, make sure we’re including everybody’s who’s in this community,” Monument Project Coordinator Mauli Junior Bonner said. 

In attendance today were leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Governor Spencer Cox, members of the NAACP and monument project coordinator Mauli Junior Bonner. 

“I hope that what we have today will inspire those young people like me but not just African American kids, black kids or kids with different color skin, I hope this inspires my kids,” Cox said. 

Bonner emphasized the importance of remembering Black history in Utah and using that history to educate Utahns young and old and create a state where everyone feels represented and welcome.  

“To those who do have a hard time finding people who look like them in community leadership, in pictures in art in monuments, you still belong, you belong here,” Bonner said.  

Speakers went on to say we should face the difficult parts of Utah’s history in order to create a better future. 

“If we don’t know where we came from, how in the world will we know how far we’ve come,” Bonner said. 

Leaders also said we’ve come a long way, but we still have a journey to go, and it takes everyone.  

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