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It was the first and only town in the state of California that was completely established and governed only by African Americans. And all this happened in a time when African Americans had very few rights and opportunities in the great States of United America. The man behind the town was Allen Allensworth. He was born into slavery in Kentucky on April 7, 1842. He managed to escape during the time of the American Civil War and enlisted as a Union soldier. He was the first African American in history to reach the rank of lieutenant colonel. In the meantime, he also became a minister and an educator. In 1908, by now a veteran of the U.S. Army, Allen Allensworth, along with Professor William Payne, Rev. William Peck. Rev. John W. Palmer, and Harry A. Mitchell, found a piece of land where they could materialize their dream: to build a town where African Americans could live free, own property, learn, create and live the American Dream. They chose and bought a 800-acre piece of land with good fertile soil, adequate water for farming, and a location close to the railroad corridor. The town was governed by a council named the Allensworth Progressive Association. Along with private houses, this small town of Allensworth also had communal buildings, and businesses and public buildings were quickly established. It had a bakery, livery stable, barbershop, drugstore, church, library, school and a machine shop. Two years after the founding of the town a general store / Post Office building was running the post and supplies for the township. A nice addition to the town was The Allensworth Hotel, opened by Clara and John Morris. The hotel was not very big but always open for tourists. It had eight guestrooms and charged only 75 cents per room per night. The most important building in the town of Allensworth is the school house. The school house was used until 1972 and even to this day it’s been kept furnished as it was back in 1915 when it was built. Allensworth started to decline in 1914 after water became a problem due to seriously lower table. The town also suffered its most significant setback; the tragic death of their inspirational leader. Colonel Allensworth was hit by two white boys who were driving recklessly on a speeding motorcycle in Monrovia. Allen Allensworth State Historic Park was dedicated on Oct 6, 1976. There are 26 historic buildings in the town of Allensworth, attracting 80,000 guest to visit the park annually.
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