February 27, 2014

Allensworth Makes the List

The African American settlements of Allensworth, California and Nicodemus, Kansas are two of the sites on the USA Today list of “15 black history sites you don't know.”  
The homes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Maggie L. Walker made the list as well as African American Museums in Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. 

The list of sites also includes the less celebratory; an antebellum plantation, and a Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia.

Compiled by Molly Vorwerck and published on February 13th, the list has the hours of operation, phone number, and website for each site.

February 26, 2014

Lantern Light “Ghost Tour”

The Porterville Ghost Society and the park staff will lead a Lantern Light “Ghost Tour” of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on Saturday, March 15th.  This is a chance to see the park after the sun goes down. 

These special nighttime tours are only conducted four times a year, so pack your flashlight and walking shoes and make your way to the park for this special tour. 

This event is not recommended for children under 12.

For more information about the tour or Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park contact Steve Ptomey at 661-849-3433 or email

 Saturday, March 15, 2014
 8:30 pm
 Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
 Star Route 1, Box 148
 Earlimart, CA 93219
 $10.00 per person

February 13, 2014

I Have Fought a Good Fight

Karen Elaine Montgomery
June 26, 1959 — February 01, 2014

Karen Elaine Montgomery was born to Frazier and Ella Ruth (Wagner) Porter on June 26, 1959. Karen attended elementary and high school in the San Diego area. After attending the local community college, Karen entered into one of the many employments of her adult life. Karen was employed as a librarian assistant, bus driver, cashier, teacher's aide, store manager, seamstress, and quilter. In 1983, Karen gave birth to Monae, the first of her five children. In 1984, Karen gave her life to the Lord and was introduced to her husband not long afterwards. After 9 months of courtship they were married in 1988. To this union four children were born: Nika, Raquel, Karin and Carnell, III. Karen and Carnell started their married life in Allensworth, CA. Karen was very active in the community, serving as board president of the water company and the school district. She worked real hard to secure funding and food for the residents of Allensworth. After 16 years in Allensworth, Karen and family moved to Bakersfield in 2004.

In Bakersfield she touched so very many lives, working and teaching classes at To Quilt & Sew and other places in the city. She easily made many friends and really enjoyed going to the quilting shows, whether locally or out of town. "T-shirt quilts were her specialty and many happy customers enjoyed the precision she employed when making a quilt. The Francisco Family enjoyed raffling her quilts to help support their children who attended college. Karen was a member of the Church of God, ELS where she attended church in San Diego, Los Angeles and finally Bakersfield. Karen served in many positions, but was best-known as unofficial 'supervisor' of the kitchen. Karen was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. After a double mastectomy the cancer returned in 2012. She continued fighting until 2014, when the cancer reached the brain! At that point she told us, "I have fought a good fight. I am ready to go be with the Lord. Jesus has been talking with me, telling me that he is on his way to get me and I am ready to go!" Karen peacefully went to be with her Lord on February 1, 2014. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, 5 children, 2 grandchildren, 3 brothers, a foster father and family, a host of family members, church members, and close friends.

She was remembered in Bakersfield on Friday night at Basham and Saturday morning at Calvary Bible Church. She was interred in San Diego on February 12, 2014. Please send cards, letters, and gifts to her daughter, Nika L. Walton, P.O. Box 785, Bakersfield, CA. 93302.

February 09, 2014

Allensworth Tackles Water Issue

Three years of below-normal rain and snow fall caused Governor Jerry Brown to declare a Drought State of Emergency on January 17th.  2013 was the driest year on record and predictions for 2014 don’t look any better.  According to state officials, within four months, 17 rural communities will face a severe water shortage.  Cutbacks in irrigation water have forced Central Valley farmers to forgo the planting of crops and ranchers to truck in alfalfa to feed their cattle. 

On February 5th the U. S. House of Representatives passed a bill that permits federal and state authorities to pump more water out of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta.  The Obama administration however, has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.

According to Allensworth resident Kayode Kadara, the drought has not hit Allensworth yet. But again Allensworth residents have dealt with a substandard water supply for the last one hundred years; beginning in 1914 when the Pacific Farming Company failed to honor its commitment to supply water to the town.

On Tuesday, February 11th Allensworth will have the second in a series of community meetings to discuss long-term solutions, opportunities and options to the town’s water issues.  The goal of the meetings is for community members, county representatives and nonprofits to work together on a plan for a safe and reliable drinking water system for the town.

The meetings are facilitated by the Rural CommunityAssistance Corporation (RCAC), a nonprofit that provides technical assistance, training and financing, so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. In 2013, some Allensworth leaders, an FOA member and community advocates/activists from several disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley communities like Allensworth attended an RCAC leadership training program.  The program was held one weekend per month over four months.

With the help of nonprofit organizations like RCAC and SelfHelp Enterprises and local community leaders, Allensworth will continue to be “The Town That Refuses to Die”.