The Ordination of Q. Walker Lewis


Q. Walker Lewis was one of the few black men ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime prior to the 1850’s ban of black Africans from Latter-day Saint priesthood offices and temple ordinances. Walker Lewis was an abolitionist who joined the Church in Massachusetts and was ordained to the priesthood in 1843 by William Smith or Parley P Pratt. Brigham Young called Walker Lewis “one of the best elders.” To my knowledge there are no known images of Q. Walker Lewis. I don’t pretend to know what he looked like but I wanted to put a face to the name to honor him and help others better understand Latter-day Saint history. Some are unaware of those of black African ancestry who were ordained to priesthood offices in early Church history. I painted him looking straight at the viewer to cause the viewer to engage with him and not forget him. 

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