September 30, 2011

Walking the High-Speed Train Route

Three exhausted hikers camped out at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park at the ends of day 17 of “We Make the Road by Walking” a 30 day hike along the proposed route of the California High-Speed Train. The three hikers are brothers that came back home after their mother told them the proposed route of the California High-Speed Train runs through the family’s walnut orchard in Hanford; land that has been in their family for over 100 years. Adam and Nate live in Portland, Oregon, and the oldest brother, Travis lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Travis told reporter Tim Sheehan “[It] is important to understand things at a very local level, at ground level and at walking pace, in a very experiential way.” He went on to said “People are talking about money or air quality and all these important things, but a lot of people’s positions are very much informed by their daily lives and their histories and what they value about their individual places.”

The walk started August 29th at Union Station in Los Angeles and ended today, September 30th at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 27, 2011

“History Alive” Lecture Series

September 1st was the start of the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s 34th annual “History Alive” lecture Series. The September 1st lecture was Life Behind the Barber’s Chair by William “Bill” Ware of the Tonsorial Parlor and Dr. Willie Morrow creator of the California Curl and owner of the San Diego Monitor.

The October 6th lecture is Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, California’s First Independent African American Community by Stephen Hill president of the San Diego Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth.

The November 3rd lecture is Pat Abbot on Earthquakes by Patrick Leon Abbott Professor Emeritus of Geology at SDSU.

These free lectures start at 7 pm in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive Street, Lemon Grove, CA 91945. For more information call (619) 460-4353.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 26, 2011

“Gateway to the Pacific” Living History Event

Front entry to the Camp Reynolds Chapel where Allensworth
was assigned from December 1900 to August 1902.

Angel Island State Park will host “Gateway to the Pacific”, a living history event, on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 1 6 from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at Camp Reynolds. The event highlights Angel Island and its role in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars of 1899-1902. It will feature re-enactors interpreting the lives of soldiers and civilians of the time. Event historians will be on hand to discuss details of the war, exhibit equipment and weapons, and demonstrate original hand-crank sewing machines and other home crafts of the era spotlighting civilian life back at home.

The U.S. Army Post Camp Reynolds, housed troops being deployed to location throughout the Pacific in times of war, including the Philippine Islands, until the military left the Island during the early 1960s.

Chaplain Allen Allensworth and his family were assigned to Camp Reynolds after the chaplain was injured in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The 100 seat chapel and 24 seat one-room school where Chaplain Allensworth conducted Sunday service, and held weekly debates among the enlisted men is still there.

For more information about Angel island State Park call (415) 435-2131 or visit For ferry information from Tiburon, contact Angel Island Ferry Company, (4150 435-2131, For ferry information from San Francisco, contact Blue and Gold Fleet, (415) 773-1188,

Stephen Hill. Sr.

September 20, 2011

Public Hearing on High-Speed Train Route

This week the California High-Speed Rail Authority is holding public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed Train System.

The first hearing took place today in Fresno. The Hanford hearing is Wednesday, September 21, 2011, from 3 to 8pm at the Civic Auditorium, 400 N. Douty Street, Hanford, CA 63230. The Bakersfield hearing is Thursday, September 22, 2011, from 3 to 8pm at the Beale Memorial Library Auditorium, 701 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93301.

You can read the summary of the California HST EIR/EIS to see which route alignments will impact Colonel Allensworth SHP.

The California High-speed Rail Authority will be accepting public and agency comments on the draft EIR/EIS until Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Send your written comments to:

California High-speed Rail Authority
Fresno to Bakersfield Draft EIR/EIS Comments
770 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send email comments to:

With the subject line “Draft EIR/EIS Comment”

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 17, 2011

35th Annual Rededication

Come join the Friends of Allensworth and the California Dept. of Parks & Recreation for the 35th Annual Rededication at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on Saturday, October 8, 2011.

It is a time for the Friends of Allensworth, park staff, town descendents, and park supports to come together. It is a time to encourage each other to stay the course, to keep Colonel Allensworth’s dream alive. It is a time to pledge our support to protecting the future of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

Entertainment will include gospel and jazz music, spoken word, square dancers, a praise team, and a puppet show. The guest speaker will be author, lecturer, and Allensworth descendent Rose Calbert-West. And as always there will be arts & crafts and food vendors. Space is still available at the campground.

For more information contact Friends of Allensworth at 530-949-2168.

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

When: Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time: 10 am – 4 pm


Vehicle Fee: $8

Small Bus (24 or less) $50

Buses (25 0r more) $100

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 13, 2011

Rev. Maurice J. Cotton Sr. Honored

For over 40 years the late Rev. Maurice J. Cotton Sr. faithfully administered to the needs of the Highlight Church of God in Christ congregation and the Lathrop community. Rev Cotton and his congregation have protected battered women and children, helped addicts overcome their addictions, as well as fed, clothed, and housed the homeless. At a ceremony on Saturday, September 3, 2011, the city of Lathrop, California expressed their gratitude for the former Allensworth resident by renaming the street in front of the Highlight Church of God in Christ church after him.

Born in Como, Texas his parents moved to Allensworth while he was serving in World War II. After the war young Maurice Cotton joined his parents in Allensworth where he met his wife Minnie Lee Cotton. In an interview with Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald she recounted how they met, “I met him in the cotton filed, I would have one row [done] and he would have two and double back and be on the third. He was a worker.”

Rev. Cotton was a worker his whole life, he was owner and operator of Cotton Trucking which his children operate today. He also found time to turn a family recipe into a mobile food stand business that traveled to the state and county fairs.

Rev Cotton’s daughter Dorothy Benjamin is the organizer of the Colonel Allensworth Annual 5K Run/Walk for Health, which raises awareness about health issues facing California. All of the proceeds from the 5K run walk benefit Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Register online at: If you cannot make it to the park, you can still support the park by becoming a virtual runner/walker and receive a T-shirt by mail.

Stephen Hill, Sr.