Subscribe to our newsletter
To the Editor of The Age:
I wish to tell you of our movement here. It is not one of speculation, but one of co-operation in molding public opinion favorable to the race and to demonstrate to our many unfavorable critics that we can do and be.
Before my retirement from the army I commenced considering my future work to aid in making sentiment favorable to the race. I investigated the forces at work against us and soon realized that something must be done. A great deal is being done on the Pacific Coast to give additional force to the work of the New York Age and the great work of Booker T. Washington. After discussing the subject with a number of persons interested in checking the growing feeling against us, I was led to organize an association to secure a large tract of land where all conditions would contribute to the success of the movement. The specific work to do was soon decided upon.
That to organize a town, to become a model city, surrounded by intelligent farmers I found an ideal location of over three thousand acres of the best virgin soil in the great San Joaquin Valley. Here we have commenced laying the foundation for a great sentiment-making community. The town is located on the main line of the Santa Fe Railway, with ample shipping facilities to San Francisco and Los Angeles, where we find a ready market for our produce.
We have the following organizations to equip us to accomplish the object we have in view: The Progressive Association, composed of all members of the colony, to take care of everything that pertains to ideal citizenship; an advisory council of administration, composed of seven departments, to study all forms of municipal government, particularly the commission form, so that by the time we are ready to incorporate we will be prepared to organize our city with a model form of government. The Farmers Forum is composed of farmers, who receive from the United States Department of Agriculture bullets covering every phase of scientific and practical farming, thus enabling men to net over ten acres, Churches to take care of the moral side of the question. It feels that if we are to save Africa, its missionaries should be trained in the semi-tropics for service in the tropics, by Afro-Americans for work among Africans. In the intellectual world we have our public school system to prepare and to inspire the children with higher ideals of life. A Women’s Improvement Club, to cover all departments of domestic economy and science. A Juvenile Banking Association, an organization composed of the children of the colony, who are taught to save and own a bank account. To this end the children meet periodically, open their banks in the presence of each other, and close with exercises appropriate to the occasion and discuss in a simple form values.
Permit me to say that we have found and made a number of friends who are encouraging us in this work, particularly the officers of the Pacific Farming Company, who came to our rescue and turned over to us their valuable holdings on unprecedented terms, such that our dear people could meet. We are particularity indebted to R. P. Gage, secretary of the Pacific Farming Company, who has given his personal attention to the financing of this proposition in its details. In this we are proving to our friends and foes that there are white friends who are willing to co-operate with us in helping the great masses of our people, and at the same time to show that such co-operation is possible, advisable and practicable to the advantage of all concerned.
The Pacific Farming Company also furnished us with two very energetic young men as its general agents, to co-operate with me in placing this proposition before our people. These young men severed their relation with wealthy real estate companies to give their entire time to this work. And I thank you very much for the reception you gave them in New York and your co-operation with them to reach our people and urge you to continue the same.
After reading your editorial, “Advice to those Who Want to Go to Liberia,” it occurred to me that since these people are determined to leave the South, let them be directed this way, where they can live and be happy and at the same time aid in solving this great problem.
This enterprise resolves itself into a unique school which we call the School of Citizenship, Municipal Government and Scientific Farming, as all this is taught here in a practical way, each person’s lot in the city and farming tract constituting his text book, with the Advisory Council and Farmers’ Forum as instructors. We expect to receive from Tuskegee, and other such schools a number of their graduates to practically demonstrate their ability to do and be, for the most successful man that we have now in the colony is E. Z. Hunt, a graduate in dairy from Hampton. He has erected a model dairy barn and is the owner of a splendid herd of cattle, at the name time cultivating over twenty acres of the best soil in the great San Joaquin Valley. Thus you see we are furnishing a location for such men and women, surrounded by such environments as will help them.
We have also here the Booker T. Washington City Park of twenty-seven acres. In this park will be monuments erected in honor of our great men and women and to the soldiers of the race who have lost their lives protecting the honor, property and defending the flag of America. There is no other place in the United States more suitable for such monuments than this, as this is on the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad between Chicago and San Francisco, passed by in daylight by its numerous trains, where the passengers can see what is being done by us.
I read with great interest your editorial on “Segregation.” This is one of the segregated colonies or communities, made so by the choice of its members, and it occurs to me that it meets the wishes expressed by you in your editorial.
Remember, if we are ever to be a progressive race we must encourage the noble men and women to locate as pioneers, where intellectual and industrial liberty can be obtained. We are not bind to the fact that a great organized force is at work to stamp the badge of inferiority and incompetency upon the man and woman of the race. This will continue and succeed as long as we are inactive and accept readily the treatment accorded us. When the settlers of America were denied their rights and prosecuted in their native country, they braved the storms and — of the Atlanta to reach a land of freedom and opportunity, and so must we to demonstrate to the world that we deserve better treatment than that given in some parts of our country.
We have at present over one hundred members of the colony who are actively engaged in the pursuit of their choice, and they declare, one and all, that they were never so free and happy. Pioneers are continually coming in and we invite others to come and help possess the land.
Here we are to show that we have racial consciousness, racial homogeneity, and the faculty of racial initiative. Were we can and will develop an associative action so important for the progressive pioneer. Here we can demonstrate to the world that one colony possesses the character and fitness for the difficult task of pioneer and nation building.
I will take great pleasure in giving any information you or any of your readers desire.
Yours for intellectual and industrial Freedom.
Founder of Allensworth, California
The above letter to editor Fred R. Moore was published in the New York Age newspaper on January 11, 1912. The New York Age was one of the most influential black newspapers from 1885 to 1957. W. E. B. Du Bois worked for the New York Age.