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Allensworth Soundscapes

Allensworth, CA was one of the first movements of Black folks, settling in California about 78 miles south of Fresno, where Black folks flourished in economic utopia. Known to be the first, and perhaps only, “Black town” fully financed, governed and populated by the African diaspora in California, Allensworth was founded by the charismatic Col. Allen Allensworth-- escaped slave, Union nurse, chaplain-- and other Buffalo Soldiers in 1909. Allensworth and his followers ideal world was masterful in its simplicity-- one that educated, sustained, and supported Black people in America through autonomous enterprise. After Allensworth died mid-experiment, neighboring white towns, business owners and politicians exploited the land, seizing much of it, withholding water rights, and generally contributing to the town’s economic spiral. This forced its original African descendants to leave by the mid-70’s, though its legacy, idealized notion of freedom, and economic experimentation live on.

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