The "Mississippi of the West" : Religion, Conservatism, and Racial Politics in Utah, 1960-1978
Utah State University
Master of Science in History
Historians and Mormon scholars have largely ignored the African American experience in Utah during the latter half of the twentieth century. A close examination of Utah politics during the years 1960 to 1978 shows the profound influence of Mormonism and Latter-day Saint institutions in seemingly secular spaces, such as college campuses and state government. This work demonstrates how LDS theology and culture informed the sociopolitical landscape and contributed to white conservative resistance to racial equality readily found in Utah. Racial discrimination was not unique to Utah, but it did have its own particular flavor because of the predominance of Latter-day Saints in the state. This thesis explores the scholarship written about African Americans in Utah and elucidates the ways in which LDS theology and Church leadership extensively affected African American life in the Beehive State.