In 1926, American historian Carter Woodson established Black History Week to commemorate and celebrate the contributions made by people of African descent. In 1976, the celebration was expanded into a month-long commemoration to recognize the history, achievements, culture, and influences of the Black community. Today, we continue to pay tribute and honor all the Black men and women that played a significant role in the conservation of Black representation, identity, and diversity in our nation.
Individuals and organizations can celebrate Black History Month by reflecting on the 400 years of Black history and heritage, supporting Black-owned businesses, and visiting historic sites.
In Tulare County, about 30 miles north of Bakersfield, there is a historic town that was founded in 1908 by five settlers, led by Colonel Allen Allensworth. The town, Allensworth, was founded, financed, and governed solely by African Americans with the goal of achieving the American Dream. By 1918, Allensworth was home to several hundreds African Americans. By 1966, Allensworth was no longer home to residents. However, in 1974, in order to preserve the rich heritage of the site, the California State Parks purchased the land and established the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Today, a collection of restored and reconstructed 20th century buildings are available for visitors to explore and see what Allenworth looked like in the 1900s.
The Friends of Allensworth, a nonprofit association who’s mission is to support the historic park’s educational and interpretive work, offers resources to learn more about Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park and on-site tours. The Friends of Allensworth have four major annual events where Amtrak San Joaquins offers special services to riders where they can travel to Allensworth conveniently by train. In honor of this year’s Black History Month, Friends of Allensworth will be hosting a virtual celebration on February 20, 2021 at 11:00 AM on their Facebook page: @Friendsofallensworthofficial. For the 2021 year, Amtrak San Joaquins is unable to provide services to Allensworth due to scheduling restrictions and the park limiting visitors.
Friends of Allensworth Events at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
- Black History Month Celebration, second Saturday in February
- Old Time Jubilee, third Saturday in May
- Juneteenth Celebration, second Saturday in June
- Annual Re-dedication, second Saturday in October