This is the Place Heritage Park to unveil monuments for early Black pioneers

Jul 1, 2022, 11:52 AM
The new monuments at This is the place heritage park....
A crew begins to install a new monument honoring early Black pioneers at This is the Place Heritage Park. The new monument will be unveiled and dedicated on July 22, 2022. Photo credit: Joseph Reidhead.

SALT LAKE CITY — Just in time for the upcoming Pioneer Day holiday, a new monument is being dedicated at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.

How the This is the Place Heritage Park monuments came to be

The monument will include sculptures of early Black pioneers Green Flake, Jane Manning James and her two sons, Sylvester and Silas, as well as Hark Wales and Oscar Smith.

Mauli Junior Bonner, the monument’s main coordinator, said the monuments are a labor of love, four years in the making, and help complete the story of the founding of Utah.

“Green Flake, for me, is the cornerstone,” Bonner said. “He had to be recognized. People knew who he was and what he meant to the community. It’s good to have his memory back.”

The monument was funded by proceeds from the film “His Name is Green Flake” which tells the true story of Flake’s life. The film was also directed by Bonner.

The photo below was provided by the Lift Up Voices Foundation. In the photo, Kellen Perkins, a descendant of Green Flake and Jane Manning James, and Tamu Smith, a producer of the film, “His Name is Green Flake,” kneel next to a new statue of Green Flake by Stephanie and Roger Hunt.

Who are the pioneers recognized by the monument?

Green Flake was born into slavery in 1828 and lived on a plantation in Anson County, North Carolina. At the age of 16, Flake was baptized. Flake, a respected Latter-day Saint, drove the first wagon into Emigration Canyon.

He was laid to rest next to his wife Martha in the Union Pioneer Cemetery in Cottonwood Heights in 1903.

Also honored is Jane Manning James from Wilton, Connecticut. According to her biography, she, her sons, and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set out for Nauvoo in 1843. They were forced off a boat in Buffalo, New York because of their race.

After arriving in Nauvoo, Jane was invited to live with Joseph and Emma Smith. She eventually married Isaac James and had two sons before traveling west to Utah in 1847. Jane remained a faithful Latter-day Saint until her death in 1908.

Brothers Hark Wales and Oscar Smith were born into slavery on the John Crosby plantation in Mississippi. The enslaved brothers were selected to be part of the vanguard company and tasked with charting a course and improving the trail to Utah.

The statues, to be unveiled and dedicated on July 22 at 10 a.m., were sculpted by Stephanie and Roger Hunt. The statues are pictured in the photo below, provided by the Lift Up Voices Foundation.

Related: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks for ways to reduce water usage across it’s properties

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Troy Dunn, founder of the Location Foundation, appears on an episode of Dr. Phil. Photo credit: Des...
Mark Jones

Locator Foundation working to reunite loved ones with one another

The Locator Foundation is working to reunite family members who have become separated from one another and haven't been able to reconnect.
2 days ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
2 days ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
3 days ago

Utah mom shares grocery budgeting tips

Lisa Park, a mother of three from Stansbury Park, has perfected her strategy over the last decade. Now with increasing food prices, it’s paying off, and she’s saved a fortune.
3 days ago
FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...

Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media

(CNN) — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he believes 13 is too young for children to be on social media platforms because although sites allow children of that age to join, kids are still “developing their identity.” Meta, Twitter, and a host of other social media giants currently allow 13-year-olds to join their platforms. […]
6 days ago
January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
This is the Place Heritage Park to unveil monuments for early Black pioneers