Keith Hamilton and “I Am Jane” in Salt Lake this June

By May 17, 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting with ?youthful? Saints from the Ludlow Ward in Western Massachusetts for their Sunday night lesson. The invited speaker was Mr. Keith Hamilton, a former trial lawyer and chairman of the Utah board of Pardons and Parole. Among Keith?s many claims to firsts is the fact that he was the first black person to graduate from BYU law school. Keith is now a full-time author as well as the executive producer of the latest production of Margaret Young?s I Am Jane, a stage play dramatizing the pioneer experiences of Jane Manning James, as well as other black Mormon pioneers ( He also is in the play, depicting Isaac James, Jane’s one-time erstwhile but in the end redeemed husband.
In a wide-ranging talk on the theme of ?making a difference?, Keith shared with us some of his unique experiences, including growing up in an African American Baptist family, losing both his parents to accident and illness by the time he was in eighth grade and converting to Mormonism as a senior at North Carolina State in 1980. Keith also regaled us with tails from his mission in ?virgin territory? (i.e. non-missionized areas) in Puerto Rico, his experience as a bishop in San Francisco after the ?World Series? Earthquake in 1989, and lately his efforts to bring Jane Manning James?s story to as many people, LDS and non-LDS, as possible.
I believe Keith?s book, Eleventh Hour Laborer, ( comes out in the Fall. For those scholars interested in the history of the priesthood, I know Keith has some very interesting things to share about what he believes is a more productive way of understanding this contentious history (one that in Keith?s own style, will be very thought-provoking itself).

I?d very much encourage folks in Utah to check out I am Jane, which runs for two weeks at the Grand Theatre (Salt Lake City Community College) in mid-June.

I?ll be heading to Utah to do more research on Jane and other early black Mormons, and sit in on as many shows as they?ll let me!

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Thanks for the heads-up on this, Max.

    Comment by Ben — May 17, 2010 @ 11:25 am

  2. Thanks, Max.

    Comment by David G. — May 18, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

  3. Good luck with the research.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — May 18, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

  4. Oh goodness yes! I will be living in South Jordan, Utah, throughout the summer, so we will definitely be there!

    Comment by Tod Robbins — May 24, 2010 @ 11:14 am

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I believe that the play will also be showing in Provo at the Covey Center during the last part of July.

    Comment by Ardis S. — May 31, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  6. Jane is one of my heroes from history. I am very excited about this performance.

    Comment by Debbie Miller — June 8, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  7. Thanks for the very interesting entry. I am very much acquainted with Keith Hamilton when encountered me on the campus of Brigham Young University between 1981 and 1983. I was a student, plus the fact I am an African-American gentleman, and graduated in 1987. I am looking forward in reading Keith’s forthcoming book, because from my conversationms with him at that time, he had a great story of his life. I have been quite impressed with his concerns for those who caught and trying to understand their prsonalites. Your entry gives a true and an inspiring aspect of him positively. I sincerely missed my numerous conversations with Keithg. Anyhow, thanks for entry. Have a great day.

    Chester Lee Hawkins
    email address –

    Comment by chester lee hawkins — June 20, 2010 @ 10:26 pm


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