Slavery in Zion

A Documentary and Genealogical History of Black Lives and Black Servitude in Utah Territory, 1847-1862

According to an Akan proverb, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” This belief underlies historian Amy Tanner Thiriot’s work in Slavery in Zion, which combines genealogical and historical research to bring to light events and relationships unknown or misunderstood for well over a century. The total number of enslaved people in Utah’s early history has remained an open question for many years, due in part to the nature of nineteenth-century records, and an exact number is undetermined. But while writing this book Thiriot documented around one hundred enslaved or indentured Black men, women, and children in Utah Territory.
Slavery in Zion has two major parts. The first section provides an introductory history, chapters on southern and western experiences, and information on life after emancipation. The second section is a biographical encyclopedia of names, relationships, and events. Although Slavery in Zion contains material applicable to legal history and the history of race and Mormonism, its most important contribution is as an archive of the experiences of Utah’s enslaved Black people, at last making their stories an integral part of the record of Utah and the American West—no longer forgotten or written out of history.
Amy Tanner Thiriot is an independent historian and adjunct university instructor in the BYU-Idaho Family History Research program. Her work has been published in the Deseret Book series Women of Faith in the Latter Days and in Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. She blogs at TheAncestorFiles and has written several series for Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog
Table of Contents:

Sankofa: Remembrance
List of Abbreviations 

Introduction: Bound for the Promised Land 

Part I: The Story of African American Slavery in Utah Territory 
1. Southern Origins: Mississippi and Alabama 
2. Southern Origins: Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky 
3. Exodus and Escape 
4. The Settlement of Utah 
5. Going to California
6. Green Flake and the Tithing Myth
7. The Texans 
8. Merchants, Army Officers, and Government Appointees 
9. Free at Last 

Part II: Biographical Encyclopedia of the Enslaved 
10. The Enslaved 
11. Associated Enslaved Individuals 
12. Black Residents of Utah Territory 
13. Former or Unproven Enslavers 
14. Related Topics

Appendix 1: An Act in Relation to Service, Utah Territorial Legislature (1852)
Appendix 2: Slave Registrations and Bill of Sale 
Appendix 3: Deeds of Consecration 
Appendix 4: Brigham Young Correspondence 
Appendix 5: Miscellaneous Documents 
Appendix 6: Selected Newspaper Articles

Praise and Reviews:Slavery in Zion is the most thorough and exhaustive treatment to date of the lives of Black Utahns in the nineteenth century. It should serve as an indispensable starting point for other researchers to explore all sorts of potentially fascinating and important topics.”
—Christopher C. Jones, assistant professor of history, Brigham Young University

“An important addition to the study of slavery and (most importantly) enslaved peoples in early Mormon Utah. The author should be commended for her painstaking archival work to bring together well known documents as well as lesser-known documents related to this history.”
—Max Perry Mueller, author of Race and the Making of the Mormon People