Sistas in Zion Profile picture
Jul 8, 2018 33 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The story of Gobo Fango is a dismal history of slavery and oppression in South Africa, the United States and from members of the #LDS church. For some strange reason it is often contorted into a "faith-affirming" LDS pioneer story as I recently experienced at church. --Zandra /1
The truth ain't always pretty So if you're members of the families that enslaved Gobo Fango then the history I'm about to drop might be uncomfortable but if we keep reworking LDS racial history to make it "comfortable" we never grow in the Gospel and we repeat our mistakes. -Z /2
Some LDS descendants of slave owners spend too much time spreading generational falsehoods about how their families "freed their slaves when they joined the church" but the slaves chose to stay as "family members". --Z /3
Oddly Black "family members" worked for no pay, had no rights, aren't in the "family photos" didn't live in the house but slept outside in sheds & shacks. Didn't eat dinner w/ the fam or sit w/ them at church and their white "family" would buy, sell & give them as tithing. --Z /4
It's kind of crazy how similar these Black "family members" lives were to slaves. CAUSE THEY WERE SLAVES YO!! Seriously the next time your grandma tries to have FHE about your 1800s "Black uncle/aunt/cousin" that ain't in not one family photo say these words, "Stop it!" -Z /5
Have this FHE instead: Hey guys we're not responsible for g-g-grandpas actions but lets not seal women he enslaved & children he forcibly had w/ them to our family. They don't want to be his plural wife & sealings aren't here to make us feel better about our Black ancestry. -Z /6
Right, now back to Gobo Fango... The Talbot family, white English farmers were living in South Africa. They claim that Gobo's mother was fleeing tribal poverty w/ Gobo and his infant brother in tow. She gets to their farm & decides she can't travel w/ both kids... --Z /7
In some versions of their family tellings she's dying, in others she's not dying, but she can't travel w/ 2 kids & decides to leave 3 year old Gobo in a tree on the Talbot family farm. Some claim Ruth, the mother found him, others say the sons saved him from wild animals.. --Z /8
Whatever version the Talbots find him & rescue him from the tree. Ok we have 3yr old Gobo, from the Gcaleka tribe who speaks Xhosa not English. He's starving been a tree 1-3 nights depending on the version & somehow manages to tell the Talbots the story of his tribe & mum --Z /9
The Talbots have gotten a clear & concise report from 3yr old Xhosha speaking Gobo Fango, like names, tribe, reason his mother fled & that he has a brother, so obviously the Talbot's march him right back to his people & find his Father or grandparents...Yeah no. --Z /10
Instead the Talbot family says they "kept him to raise him as their own." To recap, It's 1857 a white British family allegedly finds a 3yr old non-English speaking child in a tree who knows his name, tribe, mother & brother. So naturally they keep him & make him "family". --Z /11
Couple yrs later Talbot fam meet LDS missionaries and are baptized. They later decide to leave South Africa and join the Latter-day Saints in Missouri. Guess who's going with them? Yup! Lil' Gobo. He's undocumented, they've got no permission they literally smuggle him out. -Z /12
According to the Talbots America is dangerous for Gobo because he's Black and the Civil War and the captain refuses to let them board the ship w/ Gobo. IDK if the captain was like, "Yeah we don't let people leave countries w/ children they can't prove belong with them." --Z /13
Now this portion of history which is never talked about is important. The Talbot family is not American, they are British. Slavery was abolished in England in 1833, they abolished slavery in their South African colonies in 1834. But illegal slave trade was a big problem --Z /14
Therefore white British folks claiming they are headed to America with a Black child that they can procure no documentation for and didn't legally adopt was a huge red flag for ship Captains who were trying to stop the illegal smuggling of Black Africans to America. --Z /15
The oral history passed in the Talbot fam is, Gobo wouldn't be able to care for himself in South Africa so Henry Talbot (Father) knelt in prayer & God guided him to roll Gobo in a heavy dark rug & smuggle him aboard. Gobo remained rolled in the rug all the way to America. --Z /16
They get to America, Boston, & people in the North begin accusing the Talbots of smuggling a slave as they're traveling to Missouri. They don't have papers proving they own him, or that he's adopted. So they hide Gobo under Ruth's (Mother) big hoop skirts as they travel. --Z /17
Talbots say that at one point a mob formed because ppl believed the Talbot's were smuggling a child slave. It's interesting that so great was the desire to make sure that this child was not enslaved that a Captain refused to let him board & Americans formed a mob. --Z /18
I have often wondered if his appearance/state was what drew so much attention in America. Gobo now about age 7 to 9 has been rolled in a carpet in the cargo section of a ship for around 6-8 weeks. His access to food, water & human contact must have been extremely limited. --Z /19
A child, malnourished, solitary confinement, sea sickness, going to the bathroom on yourself & laying in your own feces for 6 to 8 weeks maybe more if they experienced inclement weather. While being pinned in the center of a heavy dark rug. He might've looked like death. --Z /20
Some Talbots claim they adopted him once in Missouri & he worked indentured servitude. There's no records of any such adoption. Some claim he wasn't formally adopted but was family & chose to work. What all accounts agree on is the Talbots worked him and they didn't pay. --Z /21
When the Saints Trek west the Talbots do too and take Gobo Fango to Utah. They settle the Kaysville area. And continue to work him with out pay. The distinction between free Blacks in UT is they were paid. Enslaved Blacks in UT worked for no pay & were oppressed. --Z /22
Gobo Fango did not sleep in the Talbot home. Gobo slept outside in a shed, exposed to freezing temperatures and the elements. His feet became so frost bitten at one point that he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. --Z /23
At this point the Talbots are no where near a Civil War, they aren't being "harassed" by ship captains or mobs, who mind you CORRECTLY deduced that they had smuggled a child from Africa, and they have they're "family" member Gobo, sleeping and freezing in a shed in Utah. --Z /24
When Gobo Fango is a teenager the Talbot's SELL him to the Whitesides another Utah LDS family. That's right folks they SOLD Gobo Fango for MONEY. Gobo, their beloved "family" member whom they rolled in a rug. So were Mormons selling kids back in the day? Um NO just slaves. -Z /25
The kicker the Civil War is OVER, slavery has been abolished in the USA, yet Mormons in UT are selling "family members"/slaves like candy at the corner store. The sale is 100% ILLEGAL because slavery is ILLEGAL yet the Whitesides pay the Talbots for Gobo Fango. --Z /26
Eventually the Whitesides family sell Gobo to the Hunters another Utah LDS family in the Grantsville area. YES SLAVERY IS STILL ABOLISHED & ILLEGAL, yes the Mormons know how to read, and are aware that they're illegally buying & selling their family-member-slash-slave. --Z /27
At some point Gobo Fango figures out he's free. They can't work him without pay anymore so the folks from Grantsville come up w/ an indentured servant deal if Gobo herds their sheep in Idaho he'll eventually own land and sheep of his own. --Z /28
In Idaho around age 30 or 31. Gobo Fango ends up in a land dispute with a white Idahoan. The man shoots him, fatally wounding him but before he dies, white Idahoans claim that he crawled over 4 miles while shot & bleeding to a farmhouse to leave an oral will... --Z /29
In this alleged oral will Gobo leaves his money to his "friend" from Grantsville, the LDS church temple fund and the poor. Obviously some historians have concerns about the power dynamics and consent of a deathbed will from a Black man to folks who had enslaved him. --Z /30
Gobo Fango was never baptized a member of the LDS church. The Talbots, Whitesides and Hunters did not have him baptized while they enslaved him, and slaves could only be baptized with their owners consent. Once free Gobo never chose to be baptized on his own. --Z /31
I have never seen any records of Gobo Fango bearing his testimony as we have for the early Black Mormon Pioneers. I have never seen tithing records for Gobo Fango as I have seen for Early Black Mormon pioneers, or read journal entries of Gobo's activity in the LDS church. --Z /32
The man who killed Gobo was tried twice. The first jury was hung, and the second acquitted his killer. I have never seen records of the Talbots or the Grantsville folks who got his money seeking justice for their family member/friend Gobo Fango. Gobo is buried in Idaho. --Z /end

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More from @SISTASinZION

Sep 7, 2018
👏🏿 Listen 👏🏿 Saints. We 'bout to have a whole conversation about these @LDSchurch missionary "farewells" and "homecomings". Cause somebody got to explain to me what in the Army of Helaman is happening in my church right now. THREAD /1 --Zandra
BIG farewells were before my time but I have heard the tales. Apparently back in the day they put the #LDS smack down on the missionary situation cause Saints took up entire sacrament meetings yo momma yo daddy err body in yo family would speak plus like 5 musical numbers. /2 --Z
Now you done took out a payday loan so you could have the Osmonds headline a church talk and you still gotta feed a grip of people at your house after the meeting. Saints dippin into their 401k just have enough fish and loaves to feed 5000. Yo, I heard it was wild! /3 --Z
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