Book Review

Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon by Quincy D. Newell

Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon by Quincy D. Newell

Biographer Quincy D. Newell admits that she approaches the story of Jane Manning James (1820–1908), one of the first black members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “for what it tells us about religion and race in nineteenth-century America” (4–5) and because it is a “history of Mormonism from below” (135). Such a story, she argues, “demonstrates how a focus on temple rituals and priesthood,” though always central to Latter-day Saints, “blinds us to the everyday lived religion of thousands of nineteenth-century Mormons” (135). Beyond participating in the project of recovering the ethnically diverse past of the Church, Newell’s overall goal seems to be to position James’s story where it belongs: in the “books on African American history, American women’s history, and the history of the American West” (1).