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Vision of an African American utopia -- Allensworth

October 31, 2008 |  7:48 am



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Photograph by Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A LOOK BACK: The sun sets on Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, where original buildings and replicas provide a glimpse of the utopian community founded by a former slave and retired Army chaplain for his fellow African Americans in 1908.

By Peter H. King
October 27, 2008
Reporting from Allensworth, Calif. -- From outside her house in this beaten-down little town in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Nettie Morrison, Allensworth's unofficial mayor, can look up the road a few hundred yards and see where it all so grandly began -- the birthplace of one of the more audacious California dreams.

A century ago, it was on this flat, barren piece of California that Col. Allen Allensworth, a former slave and retired Army chaplain, came to launch a utopia: a colony of, by and for black Americans.

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