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September 11, 2006

Biography of early black Mormon honored

UCSC Summer Session program manager Connell O'Donovan has won a $500 scholarship and a trip to the John Whitmer Historical Association annual conference for his biography of Walker Lewis (1798-1856), an important Boston abolitionist and early black Mormon. The conference will be in October in Independence, Missouri.

O'Donovan's biography, "The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: 'An Example for His More Whiter Brethren to Follow,' " is slated to be published in the annual journal of the John Whitmer Historical Association this month. O'Donovan's research reveals why Mormon leader Brigham Young banned black men from becoming Mormon priests beginning in 1847. Young's actions on the issue have long been of interest among Mormon historians. The race-based ban was rescinded in 1978.

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