Allen Allensworth was born into slavery, but escaped - and then rose the ranks in the US Army during and after the Civil War.
Remembering his childhood in slavery, he dreamed of a society of Black people who could educate themselves, take care of each other, and thrive free from racism.
In collaboration with a handful of Black community leaders, he did just that! Together they founded Solito, CA, in 1908 - which was quickly renamed Allensworth, after its founder.
Black people from all over flocked to the settlement. A government was formed, as well as a school district and businesses.
Without racism to hold it back, this Black community - run by Black people - THRIVED. Many residents called it “the land of the African American dream.”
That is, until the government felt threatened by the Black excellence - and decided to sabotage Allensworth, turning the dream into a nightmare.
Allensworth had to negotiate with the California government for the water used by its farmers and residents.
But the government refused to send the amount of water it had originally promised. When the water dried up, so did the town. By 1930, it was nearly abandoned.
When Black people are truly free to create our own institutions, take care of each other, and do our own thing - without white interference - we PROSPER! Allensworth is proof!