December 23, 2011

Passing of William “Bill” Smith

We have recently learned of the passing of one of the founding members of the Friends of Allensworth, William “Bill” Smith of Fremont, California.

When I first visited Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on a warm September afternoon in 1994, it was Bill Smith who gave me, my wife Sharon, her mother, and our two children a tour of the park. He unlocked the school house, and told us about the “dignity cup” sitting on the student desks. From there we walked down to the Scott and Grosse Drug Store, which also had to be unlocked. Then we walked over to the Colonel’s house, where he told us how the house had been ordered from a catalog and delivered on the train. We ended the tour at the Mary Dickerson Memorial Library. I still have a picture of Bill and our children walking to the library.

When Bill reached the gates of heaven I am confident that the Allensworth greeting committee was standing next to God and the angels; representatives of the Allensworth family, the Singleton family, the Hackett family, the Stockett family, the Towns family, the Payne family, the Overr family, the Hindsman family , the Archer family, the Hall family and the Cowes family. They were there to say thank you. Thank you for telling our story, the story of how we took a small isolated piece of land and turned it into a community, a community where African Americans could pursue the American dream. A place we could call our own. Thank you for over thirty years of service to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, for answering ranger Rod Parsons’ 1979 appeal for people to serve as docents for the newly opened state park. Thank you for being part of that small group of devotees that formed the Friends of Allensworth in 1983. Thank you for organizing fund raisers to purchase furniture for the restored homes, and for organizing park cleanup days. Thank you for everything you have done to make the park what it is today.

In addition to being founding members of the Friends of Allensworth Bill and Susie organized the Fremont Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth. Susie is currently serving as the chapter’s president. She is also the state wide vice-president and membership chair for the Friends of Allensworth.

On behalf of the San Diego Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth, I join the Allensworth greeting committee in saying thank you for everything Bill and Susie have done for Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Susie please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

Church Services will be held:

Date:    Thursday, December 29, 2011
Time:    11:00 am
Where: Palma Ceia Baptist Church
             28605 Ruus Road
             Hayward, CA
             (510) 786-2866

Burial Services will be held:

Date:     Friday, December 30, 2011
Time:    11:00 am
Where: Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
             5810 Midway Road
             Dixon, CA 95620
             (707) 693-2460

Please send flowers to:

Chapel of Angels funeral home
40842 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 897-2439

December 07, 2011

“Mayor” Nettie Morrison Honored

More than thirty years ago Mrs. Nettie Morrison left the conveniences of Los Angeles, the land of big dreams, and moved to the remote farmlands of Allensworth, an unincorporated township affectionately known as the “town that refused to die.”

On Tuesday, December 6th the Tulare County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation “honoring Nettie Morrison for 30 years of advocacy and dedicated leadership to the community of Allensworth.”

In addition to the achievements mentioned in the proclamation (below) Mrs. Morrison was a member of the Allensworth Study Panel that created the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. She was also the first president of the Friends of Allensworth Cooperating Association. In 2007 when Mrs. Morrison heard about plans to build two mega dairies next to Allensworth she sounded the alarm, calling friends and supporters in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Bakersfield and other cities. Bus loads of supporters turned out to the Board of Supervisors meeting to voice their concerns about the negative impact that the dairies would have on Allensworth.

Because of health problems last month Mrs. Morrison resigned from the Allensworth Community Council; the council she helped form in 2002.

“Mayor” Nettie Morrison, thank you for refusing to let Allensworth die.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

County of Tulare Board of Supervisors



WHEREAS, Nettie, as a dedicated community leader; became a founding member of the Friends of Allensworth in 1982. This organization has proudly established chapters throughout the state of California; and

WHEREAS, known for her service as the Chairperson of the Allensworth Community Council, Nettie was appointed as the “Mayor” by former Tulare County Supervisor Connie Conway; and

WHEREAS, a founder of the Allensworth Christian Church, Nettie successfully raised funds to relocate the church from the Allensworth State Historic Park to the current township of Allensworth in 2000; and

WHEREAS, Nettie established the Food Commodities Program for Allensworth in 1981 and has continued to ensure that essential commodities are distributed to the community on a monthly basis; and

WHEREAS, Nettie is an environmental steward dedicated to the community’s vision and goals; and

WHEREAS, Nettie served on the Board of the Allensworth Progressive Association (APA), currently a non-profit organization that serves the needs of the community and was the original Town Council established in 1908; and

WHEREAS, Nettie’s legacy of leadership and devotion to her community will be cherished and admired by her two sons, three daughters, two daughters-in-law, three sons-in-law, thirteen grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that the Tulare County Board of Supervisors does hereby honor Nettie Morrison for her service, advocacy, along with her unending dedication to the community of Allensworth

December 6, 2011