Question: Was Thomas Coleman (or Colbourn) "blood atoned"?

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Question: Was Thomas Coleman (or Colbourn) "blood atoned"?

"Blood atonement" was supposedly applied to endowed Mormons who apostatized - Coleman was not an apostate and had not received his endowment

Thomas Coleman (referred to as "Colbourn" in some sources) was a black Mormon employed by Brigham Young at the Salt Lake House hotel. In 1866, Coleman was apparently discovered talking discreetly with a woman he was believed to be courting, and the men who discovered them together killed him and mutilated his body. A label was placed on his body: "Notice to all niggers! Leave white women alone!!!"[1] His death was purportedly covered up by an all-Mormon grand jury.

The difficulty here is that "blood atonement" was supposedly applied to endowed Mormons who apostatized. While Coleman may have been a Mormon, he definitely wasn't an endowed member, nor was he an apostate. Assuming the reported circumstances of his death are true, they are a tragic example of racism and lynching, one all too common in that time period.

Notes

  1. Union Vedette, (13 December 1866): page 3. A scan of the article is available here.