The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.

The Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has dedicated a new monument in Utah to four Black Latter-day Saint pioneers.

“We’re honored to be able to dedicate this memorial and these wonderful features that have now been added to declare to all who visit [This Is The Place Heritage Park] how precious and important every child of God is unto Thee,” President M. Russell Ballard said in his dedicatory prayer before several hundred people on Friday, July 22, 2022. “We are grateful for the Black pioneers and our dear friends of the Black community and in the Church and all that they do to bless the lives of others.”

President Ballard’s remarks came two days before the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the state’s first pioneers in July 1847. Three of those featured at the monument — Green Flake and his brothers-in-law, Hark Wales and Oscar Smith — were in the vanguard group of pioneers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. The fourth, Jane Elizabeth Manning James, came in September 1847.

“Protect these wonderful representations [that] remind us of who we are and what blessings we enjoy because of those pioneers, our forefathers, who have come before us and made it possible for us to have all of these wonderful blessings today,” President Ballard prayed.

Three statues and three 10-foot-high stone slabs (one foot for each of the 10 years of legalized slavery in Utah between 1852 and 1862) represent the contributions of all Black pioneers in the settling of Utah and are intended to create a place of learning, reflection and healing. The monument was designed by Stefanie and Roger Hunt of Hunt Sculpture Studio and cast in bronze by Metal Arts Foundry. The stories of these pioneers were engraved in stone from the Brown’s Canyon quarry in Utah.

To read the full report, CLICK HERE.