Black History Fact of the Week: Allensworth
102nd anniversary of establishment
June 30 marks the 102nd anniversary of the establishment of the town of Allensworth.
It was founded in 1908 by Lt. Col. Allen Allensworth with the help of several other African Americans. The small town rests in an unincorporated area of Tulare County in Central California.
Allensworth was born into slavery April 7, 1842, in Louisville, Ky. Determined to make a better life for himself and others, he secretly educated himself and eventually ran off to join the Army. He became one of the Army’s first Black chaplains, and before retiring in 1906 he became the military’s highest-ranking African American.
After leaving the service, he and his family settled in Los Angeles, where his vision of establishing an all-Black self-sufficient community was spawned. In 1908, he made his dream a reality and established the historical town.
Soon Black settlers made their way west and built homes, a church, a school, and laid streets in what was first called a colony. The town was so harmonious that Allensworth did not see the need for a jail.
It grew into a town with a voice in California politics and elected the first African American justice of the peace in post-Mexico California.
For years, the town flourished, but shortly after Allensworth’s death in 1914 the population began to dissipate.
It also endured other challenges such as the dry, infertile soil, which made farming difficult and the arsenic, which began to pollute the drinking water.
Despite the town’s rapid rise and slow decay, it’s history is preserved by a faithful few whose families helped build the community. It is now a state park, where celebrations and tours take place, including an annual Juneteenth celebration.
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The court-ordered process of officially notifying African American farmers and their heirs about the $1.25 billion “Pigford II” class action settlement is under way.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Court-ordered process of officially notifying African American farmers and their heirs about the $1.25 billion “Pigford II” class action settlement, In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, is underway.
Class members should visit www.BlackFarmerCase.com or call 1-877-810-8110 for complete information, including the detailed notice, key dates, and claims-filing information.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is currently conducting a series of meetings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to put an end to what he says are Rush Limbaugh’s racist rants that have become routine on his radio show.
Sharpton recently appeared on MSNBC, where he and host Ed Schultz discussed their disapproval of Limbaugh, as well as Sharpton’s efforts with the FCC.
“We have a series of meetings going on, and we’re going to see the FCC next week,” Sharpton said.
Taking Black people off the land—when they have been able to buy and occupy it—whether by starving Black owners of funds, seeds and farm equipment; by outright KKK-type murder and intimidation, or through other nefarious means, has been as regular in America as night following day.
This has especially been the case in the agricultural sector, where making a living was never easy even for the hardworking and resilient.
With a sloped back, cracked hands, and veined and muscled arms, Destin Samford, a sharecropper now generations away from Minkah, his African ancestor, cultivates a field in Alabama. In August, he turns away from the white-orange sun fading against a wine-colored sky to scan the earth speckled with cotton bolls framed by green leaves. He bends, back curved and crooked in places, to pull a boll of cotton from the tough spiny casing, marking the beginning of the harvest.
- Diane Glave
History Of Black Farmers And Their Loss