Sunday, November 02, 2008

Children Taken In Anti-Polygamy Raid 50 Years Ago Want Apology

Fifty years ago, Utah officials took Vera Black's seven children and threatened to place them in adoptive homes because Black refused to renounce polygamy. The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that Black's children are now asking the state to apologize to their elderly mother while she is still alive. Vera and her husband Leonard were targeted as part of a 1953 raid which unsuccessfully attempted to end polygamy in Short Creek, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. In their 1954 trial, the Blacks said they had not lived together since the raid, but because they refused to renounce plural marriage the court found that their home was an "immoral environment" and ordered their children into foster care. Prosecutors pointed out that 5 of Leonard Black's older daughters were in plural marriages. After the appeal process had run its course, the state took custody of the seven children in January 1956. Six months later, in order to avoid the children being placed for adoption, Vera announced that while she still believed in polygamy, she would "discourage my children from entering into polygamous marriages as long as the state has laws against it." The state returned the children to Vera. One of the daughters, Lillian, said that the six months away only "made us love our parents and our religion much more."