- Written by Duan Sanderson
Talk about heart. This soldier has truly earned his stripes and so we salute Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth.
Allensworth was born a slave in Kentucky back in 1842. However, his less than humble beginnings did not prevent him from greatness. We first get a glimpse of his heart when he educated himself illegally. Later his next brave move would be running off and joining the army. (Needless to say a slave would receive severe punishment for being illegally educated or trying to run off. The punishment for rebellion in some cases was even death.) Along the way Allen Allensworth earned a teaching certificate and became one of the Army’s first Black chaplains but by his retirement in 1906 he was the highest ranking African-American commissioned officer in our military.
This piece could have ended with the last paragraph for all the accomplishments of the Colonel mentioned therein from slavery to service are significant and impressive. But perhaps the most impressive fact is that Allen Allensworth actually began a town in California after he left the service. Allensworth, California is the only all-black township that was founded by Blacks. All of the financing for the streets they laid out, the buildings they erected and the houses they lived in came from Blacks. Even the government of the township was all Blacks.
Wow, the big man actually owned his own town. Makes you wonder what Allen -s -worth? But more importantly makes you want think BIG, step your game up and make history like a soldier.Today the state of California has recognized the pioneering efforts of Allen Allensworth and has adopted his township as a state historic park.
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