Jane Manning James: Her Life Story in Her Own Words

When I publish anything about Black LDS pioneer Jane Elizabeth Manning James, people from around the world express a desire to know more about her. Last night, I recorded her life story as she dictated it to Elizabeth J.D. Roundy. I have included photos from the last production of my play I Am Jane.It would have been nice to have one of Jane's descendants do this recording, or to have a black voice artist. Since I have no money to pay for a studio or that particular talent, I chose to … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Trip. First: LEARN FRENCH!

My husband told me this morning, "You are missing the caution button. Somehow, you didn't get it. You just dive in." I confess. It's true. In my maturity, I am not as foolish as I have been, but one example of my "leapingly intuitive" nature (as Bruce has described it) is that I leap into languages, fully willing to make a fool of myself and knowing that I will. And so it is. I am leaping into French. I thought I'd invite readers along. I find that if I know a story well, I can learn … [Read more...]

The Play: More Important Now than Ever Before?

I think I slept for a month after the first production of I Am Jane. I was completely exhausted. I was the playwright, costume designer, set designer, and director of this play about black Mormon pioneer Jane Manning James. I have since learned to delegate.We filled the chapel and more for that production, and in some ways it marked the time when the Genesis Group got big and started getting attention. In the audience was one of Jane's descendants, who had already labeled the play … [Read more...]

Jane Elizabeth Manning James

We draped a sheet across a metal trellis and called it a covered wagon. We used the sacrament table for Jane James’s bed. We let Elijah Able use the podium, and we put the choir in the cushioned seats by the piano and organ.This was our Genesis meeting on Sunday, March 5th, 2000. We debuted my play I Am Jane to a diverse audience that included LDS apostle David B. Haight, whose ancestor had been in Jane’s 1847 pioneer company, Elder Alexander B. Morrison, who had written about the LDS Chu … [Read more...]


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