Margaret Blair Young
Standing on the Promises
The Association for Mormon Letters is pleased to present its first award for Historical Fiction to Margaret Blair Young
and Darius Aidan Gray for their trilogy Standing on the Promises. Over the course of three novels, the reader is
taken on a journey from the early nineteenth century to the present day, following the paths of black pioneers who converted
to the Mormon faith in is earliest days.
The story is an unflinching in its portrayal of this period of American history, in which even free blacks were mistreated
and condescended to, as it is gentle and understanding in tone, putting the actions of early Saints in the historical context
of that day. As readers discover the perseverance of black men and women in the face of ongoing persecution, even at the
hands of some of their fellow Saints, they also learn of the extraordinary strength of character that kept them going.
Pioneers such as Jane Manning James, Elijah Abel, and Green Flake had a conviction of the truth of the restored gospel that
gave them the strength and the humility and love to endure to the end. They were people of great trials, but also of great
This is not just the history of black Latter-day Saints. It is the history of our church, and in some ways the history
of all its members--a pioneer story in the richest sense. Standing on the Promises not only brings this largely
forgotten history to light; it also makes it entertaining and accessible to readers of all backgrounds. It is an important
contribution to the literature of our people, and one which we hope will set a standard for stories yet to be told.