JUNE 14, 2014 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. It was on June 19th, that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. This day is celebrated by African Americans in honor of their ancestors who received notice of being set free from slavery on June 19, 1865. There’s great entertainment, great speakers and, of course, fabulous free tours of the historic buildings, given by the Friends of Allensworth docents for your educational enrichment.
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is where the Friends of Allensworth celebrate the achievements of California’s Black pioneers, those responsible for establishing the town of Allensworth. Allensworth’s pioneers established the California Colony and Home Promoting Association and incorporated in June 1908, with their stated purpose being “to create sentiment favorable to intellectual and industrial liberty.”
The Friends of Allensworth pledge to live up to the ideals that are Colonel Allen Allensworth’s. We re-affirm our faith in the community he founded; we reconsecrate ourselves to the task that was his and ours, and rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work and will strive to make this community a glowing monument to his sacred memory and one that shall live throughout the ages.
The cultural meaning of Allensworth at the time of its founding focused squarely on the promotion of individual self-reliance and self-respect among Black citizens of California. Allensworth represented for its inhabitants refuge from the White dominated political structure and an opportunity to gain access to the land which had been denied them for so long.
After Colonel Allensworth’s untimely death under suspicious circumstances, Oscar Overr and William Payne, already leaders in the community, worked for Allensworth’s growth and economic progress. Their strongest efforts were for the establishment of a vocational school for Blacks, to be located just north of town.
In a world view, the significance of the colony as a cultural phenomenon cannot be ignored. In the economic and social context of the United States, Allensworth represents a most remarkable achievement.