May 31, 2010

Allensworth High-Speed Rail Bypass

During the June 3, 2010 California High-Speed Rail Authority monthly meeting the staff will describe the alignment alternatives on the Fresno – Bakersfield section of the high-speed rail route. The monthly meeting will be held in the Sacramento City Council Chambers, 915 I Street, at 9:00 am.

Part of the alignment alternative is the Allensworth bypass. The current route of the High-Speed Rail impacts Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, the Allensworth Ecological Reserve and the Pixley National wildlife Refuge. Most of the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge and Allensworth Ecological Reserve are located east of the current route. A bypass to the west would avoid the State Park, the Ecological Reserve, and the Pixley National wildlife Refuge.

A map the Allensworth bypass can be seen on the California High-Speed Rail Authority website.

The Alternatives Analysis report will be posted by the morning of June 3rd.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 27, 2010

Slow Starvation of Our State Parks

In Governor Arnold Schwarenegger’s January budget proposal funding for California State Parks was removed from the general fund and the state parks were to be funded from proceeds from the Tranquillon ridge off shire oil drilling project. After the Gulf of Mexico oil spill the governor has withdrawn his support for the Tranqillon Ridge project. So where does this leave the California state parks?

Budget cuts have already forced nearly 150 of the state’s 278 state parks to partially close or reduce services. Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is closed Monday thru Thursday to all vehicular traffic, and has no restrooms, trash or water service on these days.

The Legislative Analyst Office, an independent analyst that provides recommendations to the legislature, has suggested that state parks funding be cut an additional $22 million; this will cause additional closures and more service reductions.

Last week the National Trust for Historic Preservation said:

“Few states have seen as many cuts to state parks and heritage-related programs as California, one of six states identified by the National Trust as prime examples of the nationwide problem.”

Take Action and contact your legislator right now to support park funding!

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 18, 2010

A Place Out Of Time – The Bordentown School


“A Place Out Of Time – The Bordentown School”

Narrated by Ruby Dee, the film airs nationally May 24th at 10 P.M. on PBS

Nicknamed the “Tuskegee of the North,” for 70 years the Bordentown school was an educational utopia, where generations of black children received academic and trade training, and - most importantly - they learned values, discipline, and life skills. After the Brown V. Board of Education Supreme Court decision Bordentown “went from being perceived as an educational utopia to a Jim Crow school,” by the black press and many Black leaders.

Colonel Allensworth and his colleagues tried to build a “Tuskegee of the West” at Allensworth, California. In 1914 there was a bill to establish a state-funded and federally aided land-grant school at Allensworth. However, black leaders in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland were concerned that a voluntary segregated school would be a step backward in California’s battle to integrate the schools and the bill was defeated.

A Place Out of Time – The Bordentown School” a documentary film narrated by legendary actress Ruby Dee tells the story of this remarkable institution through the life stories and memories of alumni, scholars and historians, and archival footage and photographs.

From 1886 to 1955, the Bordentown School was the only state-run, all-black, co-educational boarding school north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The school attracted visitors such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson, Jesse Owens, Albert Einstein, Mary McCloud Bethune, and Booker T. Washington. S. A. Haley, father of author Alex Haley; William Hastie, the first black U.S. Appeals Court judge; and Lester Granger, former leader of the Urban League were members of the faculty and staff. Notable Bordentown alumni include celebrated jazz organist Rhoda Scott, and George Grant dentist, Harvard professor, and inventor of the golf tee.

You can purchase a DVD of “A Place Out of Time” from the Hudson West Productions website. Hudson West Productions is a not-for-profit, 502(c)3 production company whose documentaries have been seen on television in the UK, Norway, and Australia, and have screened at film festivals in New York, Chicago, Paris, Dublin, Montreal, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Sydney, and Upsala.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 06, 2010

Old Time Jubilee

Saturday, May 15, 2010 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Join the Friends of Allensworth and the California Department of Parks and Recreation at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park for our annual Old Time Jubilee. Co-authors Joslyn Gaines Vanderpool and Anita Royston will use song, dance, and music to tell stories from their book”Our Black Fathers” Brave, Bold & Beautiful. The stories in “Our Black Fathers” challenge the stereotype that all black men are absent from and unaccountable to the black family unit.

George Palmer will speak about “The Roads of Allensworth” which are named after African Americans such as Charles Young and Paul Laurence Dunbar; the town’s lake was named after Booker T. Washington. Also performing will be gospel soloist Letrice Morning.

In addition to the activities on the stage, the historic building will be open for tours. There will be arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and activities for the children.

Vehicle Entry Fees:

Cars: $6.00

Small Bus: $50.00 (24 passengers or less)

Buses: $100.00 (25 or more passengers)

Camping: $20.00 per night

For information contact:

CASHP (661) 849-4012

Bakersfield (661) 633-1577

Delano (661) 725-8210

Fremont (510) 651-8323

Oakland (510) 569-4618

Sacramento (530) 949-2168

San Diego (619) 263-9101

Vallejo (707) 635-1635