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Free Reception and Closing Exhibit of Allensworth: 100 Years of the California Dream

by Khubaka, Michael Harris Monday, Sep. 22, 2008 at 4:52 PM

National Black Farm leaders travel to Los Angeles to celebrate Gumption at the Junction: Allensworth and connect the historical legacy of Black Farmers in California to the new released report "A Seat at the Table: Diversity and the 2008 Farm Bill. New opportunity to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in our communities expanding job creation, technical education and economic development in partnership with USDA, CDFA and regional organizations.

Free Reception and C...
allensworth_celebration.jpg, image/jpeg, 350x470

Sacramento, CA ~ The California African American Museum co-hosts a day-long free family event Gumption at the Junction: Allensworth and community reception highlighting Distant Echoes, “Black Farmers in America” as part of the Target Sunday @ CAAM Series from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., October 5, 2008, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles CA in the community room.

The Land Loss Prevention Project, a non-profit organization founded by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, was founded to reduce the loss of black owned land in North Carolina and has since broadened its mission to assist all limited resource farmers and rural land owners, co-hosts the community reception and presentation.

LLPP, Executive Director, Savonala Horne, also Chair of the Food and Farm Policy Project Diversity Initiative, represents a diverse group of agricultural organizations who support small, minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers all across America, inclusive of farm workers, immigrant and refugee communities.

Congressional, Legislative and local leadership is essential to providing over site toward implementation of unprecedented gains in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. Together, we represent a strong coalition to address the health and safety concerns of all American consumers and begin to close gaps by increasing local access and production of fresh fruits and vegetables in a healthy, affordable, sustainable manner.

The presentation and community reception features the journey and completion of the book and national exhibit, Distant Echoes: “Black Farmers in America.” Photographer John Ficara will present a slide show presentation highlighting his compelling images of the agricultural communities represented in his award winning publication and exhibition.

The free community reception and presentation will coincide with the closing of the 22-panel exhibit, “Allensworth: 100 Years of the California Dream,” commissioned by the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles. The exhibit is the result of collaboration among the museum, California State Parks, California Endowment Foundation and the California Legislative Black Caucus.

The town of Allen worth, located in Tulare County, was a visionary settlement established and operated by African Americans in 1908. It was founded by Colonel Allen Allensworth, formerly enslaved in Kentucky, and developed as a showplace for civic engagement, culture and ideas. The agricultural settlement thrived economically based on retail trade, its level farmlands, county roads, and the Union Pacific rail line. Community life was vibrant with churches, schools, a library, general store, theater, symphony orchestra and numerous civic organizations. Despite its slow decline over the decades of the 20th century, Allensworth became “the town that refused to die,” centerpiece of the Col. Allensworth State Historic Park.

“As the caretakers of Col. Allensworth State Historic Park, we are very pleased to be working in partnership with Senator Ridley-Thomas, the Black Caucus and the California African American Museum to tell the important story of Allensworth’s impact on California history and culture,” said Ruth Coleman, Director of California State Parks.

“The vision for Allensworth was a thriving municipality where African Americans functioned independently from, yet cooperatively with, the wider society to achieve self-respect, self-sufficiency, self-determination and prosperity,” said Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas, (D-Los Angeles) Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. “We still share much of his vision today as we work toward a greater realization of the California Dream.

“Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Allensworth represents a significant moment in time and the California African American Museum is thrilled to have had the opportunity to organize an exhibition about this community,” said Charmaine Jefferson, executive director, California African American Museum. “Our mission is to research, preserve and interpret the history, as well as the art and culture of African Americans with a special emphasis on Californian and Western history.

It is particularly fitting, then, that this closing reception of the Allensworth Exhibit builds a broader national connection to the history and lessons of Black Farmers in America. A renaissance of Black Agriculture in California and all across the nation cannot forget the bridges that have brought us thus far along our journey.

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