January 24, 2014

State Parks 150th Birthday

The California State Park System, the national’s first state park system, began in 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill that set aside 39,000 acres of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove for public use.

In 2014 California State Parks will commemorate its 150th Anniversary.  They kicked off the sesquicentennial celebration on January 1st with First Day Hikes at 13 state parks; to include Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.  On the 7th of January the new California Statewide Museum Collections Center opened to the public.

State Parks Director Major General Anthony L. Jackson USMC (Ret.) said “We are planning an amazing variety of events throughout the state and I invite you to join us and attend activities in your favorite state parks.  Please watch our website, follow us on social media, and stay tuned as we commemorate this momentous occasion.”

California State Parks has also instituted a 150th Anniversary Annual Park Pass program that includes five different passes:

  *  Annual
  *  Historian Passport
  *  Surf Explorer
  *  California Park Experience (day-use)
  *  Off-Highway Vehicle (day-use)

The annual pass cost $150 and includes the new Historian Passport which provides free admission to participating museums and historic sites. The Historian Passport cost $50 when purchased separately. Passes are available at the State Parks online store.  For more details visit the Park Pass webpage.

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is one of fourteen Historic State Parks highlighted on the California State Parks’ 150th Anniversary website.  The State Parks’ Allensworth’s Utopia article covers his life as a slave, his military career, and his role in the founding of the town of Allensworth. The article goes on to cover the decline of the town, the death of the Colonel, and formation of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

January 19, 2014

Black History Month

Come join the Friends of Allensworth and the staff of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park as we celebrate Black History Month on Saturday, February 8, 2014. Come out and enjoy docent led tours of the town’s historic homes and businesses, purchase food and crafts from the vendors, watch “Allensworth: A Piece of the World” a video that retells the story of Colonel Allen Allensworth and the town he founded.

Sites are still available at the campground, to reserve your campsite go to the Reserve America website or call 1-800-444-7275.

When:  Saturday, February 8, 2014

Time:    10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Where:  Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park               

This year’s national Black History Month theme “Civil Rights In America” is a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

After years of sit-ins, boycotts, marches, and freedom rides into the heart of the deep South.

After the murder of civil rights workers Medger Evers and William L. Moore, and the death of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, the four young girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. 

After the U.S. Senate debated for 83 days, over 730 hours, and almost 3,000 pages in the Congressional Record, on July 2, 1964 President Johnson spoke the following word during a nationwide television broadcast from the White House:

We believe that all men are created equal -- yet many are denied equal treatment…. The reasons are deeply embedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand without rancor or hatred how all this happens. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I sign tonight forbids it....

The 1964 Civil Rights Act barred unequal application of voter registration requirements, outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, encouraged the desegregation of public schools, and outlawed discrimination in employment in any business exceeding twenty five people.

Come join us as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

January 08, 2014

Google Honors Zora Neale Hurston

Yesterday Google doddle honored the birthday of Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston.  Born on January 7, 1891 in Notasulga, Albania, at the age of three Hurston moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, the oldest incorporated African American municipality in America. 

Much of her writing is based on her experiences growing up in Eatonville; Their Eyes Were Watching God, Mules and Men, Mule Bone, How It Feels to Be Colored Me … 

Every year during the last week of January, the city of Eatonville hosts the Zora Festival, a multi-day celebration of her life and work. The celebration includes museum exhibitions, public talks, panel discussions, workshops, concerts and a three-day street festival. 

Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston.

January 07, 2014

Opening of New Collections Center

Statewide Museum Collections Center

The new California Statewide Museum Collections Center (SMCC) officially opened to the public today.  Located in Sacramento’s McClellan Business Park, formerly McClellan Air Force Base, the new facility cost $15 million, has more than 12 miles of shelving, and holds over 1 million artifacts. The center’s collection includes firefighting equipment from the 1800s, gold rush objects, furniture from Governor Ronald Reagan’s residence, more than 2,600 pieces of art to include John Sutter’s portrait and more than 500 sketches, drawings and paintings by artists working for the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.  The center houses the largest collection of Native American basketry caps in the world and several items from the survivors of the Donner Party; the group of American pioneers snowbound in the Sierras in the winter of 1846-1847.
The center’s Allensworth collection has interviews with town residents like Henry Singleton, Grace Hackett, Helatha Smith and Elizabeth Payne McGee, daughter of Professor William Payne.
“As stewards of the people’s resources, the opening of this new facility is a tremendous step  forward, as historic collections of artifacts will have a longer life, and will now be open to the public,” said Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), Director of California State Parks.
The center will have rotating exhibits of the historic and cultural artifacts throughout the year. The current exhibit features the diversity of California’s history, from artifacts in Sutter’s Fort, to American Indian baskets, to the history of Angel Island.

When Chaplain Allensworth was injured during the Spanish-American War the army transferred him to Fort McDowell, Angel Island.  Here he held church services and taught school in the Camp Reynolds Chapel of Saint Marie on the west end of the island.
Tours of the SMCC are available by reservation only and may be arranged by emailing California State Parks at smmc.tours@parks.ca.gov For more information about the SMCC contact Vicky Waters at Vicky.Waters@parks.ca.gov or (916) 653-5115.

January 05, 2014

Docent Training - January 18th

There are a number of ways for visitors to learn about Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. They can read the biographical signs posted in the front yard of each building.   They can listen to the cell phone tour of the homes and businesses. But, without a doubt, the best way to experience the park is on a docent led tour. These tours give visitors a look at the interior of the buildings. Inside they can see early twentieth century amenities like wood-burning stoves, oak ice boxes, and a few upright pianos.

We need docents to interpret the amazing history of the historic town of Allensworth for park visitors; families, school groups, scout troops, bus tours, etc...  The next training class is Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 9 am to 4 pm. 

Serving as a docent is your chance to make a difference at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park; a chance to preserve this great history, a chance to help tell the Allensworth Story.

What:    Docent training
When:   Saturday, January 18, 2014
Where:  Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
Time:    9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Persons under 18 years of age may volunteer with written permission from a parent or guardian.

To sign up for the January 18th training class or receive information about other volunteering opportunities at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, contact Jerelyn Oliveira at (661) 849-3433 or Jerelyn.Oliveira@parks.ca.gov.