Black Mormons: Who Knew?


Nobody-Knows-film Few people, Mormon and non-Mormon, are aware that there has been an Black presence in the LDS Church from its earliest days, that the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers included three “colored servants” who were baptized Mormons, and whose descendants remained active in the Church for several generations.

Released in 2007, this documentary talks about that little-known legacy, and confronts the hard issues that surfaced in the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, when the Church restricted its priesthood from those of African descent. It discusses how that restriction was lifted and what the lives and challenges of the modern Black Mormon pioneers are.

Besides never-released footage shot in 1968 and many rare archival photographs, the documentary includes interviews with renowned scholars, historians, Black Mormons, with Martin Luther King III, and with Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired pastor of the First AME Church of Los Angeles, which was founded by a former slave of Mormon pioneers.

Related Link:
Official movie website – Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons

Bishop Eddie Long and the Scandal that Will Not Go Away

Eddie-long-and-church According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bishop Eddie Long and the New Birth Baptist Church are seeking recovery of approximately $900,000 from three of the five plaintiffs in the infamous sex scandal lawsuit in which Bishop Eddie Long was accused of molesting the young men among other things.

When news of the lawsuit broke and the young men identified, they initially proclaimed the lawsuit was not about money so the financial settlement and accompanying confidentiality agreement appeared to paint a different picture of their motives. It also caused many people to believe that Long was guilty of the horrendous charges.

A few months after the settlement, it appears three of the five plaintiffs have violated the confidentiality of the settlement. Yes, first there were four young men but a fifth young man quietly joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff. Now, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande are writing a tell-all book, as is plaintiff #5, Centino Kemp. The flamboyant Kemp has been in the media discussing his entertainment career as well as a book titled, “First Lady” detailing his relationship with the Bishop.  

This latest move to by Bishop Long and New Birth to recover settlement funds already disbursed is expected. One should also expect this situation to dominate the news when the books are released and the authors hit the interview circuit. Oh yeah, if there are books, there could a movie in the mix also. This situation is about to get even more messy, folks. Stay tuned. 


Murder Not Suicide: Justice for Billey Joe Johnson

Billeyjoe On December 8th, 17-year-old Billey Joe Johnson died from a gunshot
wound to the head. Police say he killed himself with a shotgun after
being stopped for a simple traffic violation in Lucedale,
Mississippi.[1] Several things seem to cast doubt on the official
story, including an independent investigation that concluded it would
have been impossible for the shot that killed Johnson to have been

Many on the ground smell a murder and a cover-up. We don't have all the
answers, but it's clear that in the racially divided town of Lucedale,
all the ingredients exist for a miscarriage of justice.

I've joined in demanding answers and justice for
Billey Joe's family. Together, we can help ensure that the District
Attorney feels the presence of a national spotlight, and let him know
that anything short of a thorough investigation will result in massive
attention and a call for outside intervention.

Please join me. It takes only a moment:

From the beginning, the District Attorney has treated the
investigation of Billey Joe's death as a suicide or the result of an
accidental self-inflicted injury. Based on his public statements and
interactions with Billey Joe's family, it appears that the District
Attorney hasn't looked into whether Billey Joe was killed by an
officer or someone else. Again, we don't have all the answers, but
here's what we do know:

- Billey Joe was at his former girlfriend's house minutes before the
killing.[2] He never entered the house, but police were called to
respond to an attempted burglary there.[3] This fact was not a part of
the original story given by the police.

- Billey Joe's family say that his ex-girlfriend had been staying at
her father's house because her mother threw her out for dating Billey
Joe (she is White and Billey Joe was Black). They said Billey Joe knew
to only go to the house when the girl's father was not present, that
the two of them were on good terms even after he had broken up with
her, and that the breakup was largely because of pressure from her
father. The family also claims that there is a relationship between
the officer present at the scene of Billey Joe's death and the girl's

- A witness heard two shots, not one, at the scene where Billey Joe
died, according to an independent investigation launched by the
Mississippi NAACP. The pathologist in that investigation has indicated
that it would be impossible for a bullet from a a self-inflicted shot
to enter in the manner that it did. He also said that given the length
of Billey Joe's arms and the length of the shotgun, it would have been
impossible for him to hold the weapon and fire it at himself.

- Billey Joe was a star athlete with scholarship offers from more than
half a dozen schools. No one--including family, friends, and
coaches--could think of a reason that Billey Joe would want to end his

A true investigation would sort out fact from rumor. But we can't be
sure that Johnson's family will get the investigation it deserves. In
the case of the Jena 6 we saw a District Attorney and a judge
incapable of carrying out justice in a racially charged environment.
In the recent case of the murder of Oscar Grant by police (and many
like it), we see how unlikely it is for District Attorneys to do their
job when the suspect is an officer of the law. But in both these
cases, public pressure has made all the difference by shining a
spotlight on local authorities.

In the case of Billey Joe Johnson, we're looking for the truth and for
justice. A minute of your time can help ensure his family gets both:





Church Folks Gone Wild!

Do  check out the video below. It shows a portion of the celebration of the 132nd anniversary of the Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church of Decatur, GA.  E. Dewey Smith, Jr. is the pastor.


That was fun. Which generation are you? Builders, Boomers, Busters or Bridges?  I’m in the Boomers category. While Miss Aretha’s “Respect” is an excellent song choice for that generation, I think I would have chosen this….


What song would you choose for your generation?


© 2008, Blogging Black Miami,

Vote for this blog for Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Blog About Stuff in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Nation of Islam Expands Membership

The Honorable Louis Farrakhan announced that the NOI (Nation of Islam) will open its membership to whites, Asians, Hispanics and other groups in the tradition of the Islamic faith. That will be a change from the beliefs followed by the NOI for many years.


© 2008, on the black hand side,

Vote for this blog for Best Pop Culture Blog and Best Blog About Stuff in the 2008 Bloggers Choice Awards.



The Power of Prayer

This powerful photo was forwarded to me by a friend. From research on the internet I've found that it is of the bishops of the church having prayer with Senator Barack Obama before he spoke to over 20,000 delegates at the General Conference of the AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri.

There is power in prayer. Senator Obama is shown being prayed for in this photo and surely prayed for by many throughout the world. Senator Obama's campaign has been a lot more spiritual than folks want to accept.

Some folks have allowed the spirit of fear to be injected in to this presidential race and say things about being concerned about fear for Obama's life. Well, we have no more reason to fear for Obama's life than we do for our own life. Sure, Obama is in a much more public role but if we stay in prayer and stay positive there truly is nothing of which to be fearful.

Senator Barack Obama Gets Personal on Father’s Day

In a speech at his new church home, the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Senator Barack Obama gave a very powerful speech on fatherhood. He was positive but pulled no punches in highlighting the problem of absent fathers in the black community.

Obama's speech was received much differently than a controversial speech given by Bill Cosby. CNN commentator Rick Sanchez tried to make an issue of the speech and questioned Obama's sincerity. I guess that is to be expected but judge for yourself.

Celebrating Mothers: Worshipping the Black Madonna

One of the most sacred icons of the Catholic Church is the Black Madonna and Christ child. Statues representing her are in Europe's most venerated shrines and cathedrals. Each year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims ritually humble themselves before the image of Mary and her child Jesus at Black Madonna sites throughout France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and other Catholic countries.

Why do we not hear more about the Black Madonna? Pilgrims throughout the ages have visited Black Madonna sites and left inspired, confident, relieved, or healed of their afflictions. Today, there are over 300 documented Black Madonna sites in France alone. Sometimes Black Madonna statues are hidden away in vaults, while the public is shown Madonnas with European features.

There are theories that the dark representation of the skin color of the statues is dues to the materials used or changes in the material over time or my personal favorite --- candle soot. Give me a break. The Black Madonna is black because she is black.