Down Black Town

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Inspired by the many settlements that had sprung up, retired African American clergyman Colonel Allen Allensworth led a group of other African Americans to establish an African American town called Allensworth. Colonel Allensworth was a freed slave by virtue of escaping slavery and joining the army becoming a union soldier during the American Civil War. The town was the first of its kind in California and was well accepted by the African American community who believed in the ideas and goals of its founder.

Down Town Core A/B Tight

Allensworth town was a community established with the aim of becoming an independent state and a country soon enough. The town was also established on the principle that African Americans could gain an education by teaching themselves, own their own property, produce their own goods, run their own economy and thrive. Many African Americans who believed in its principals and success called it the land of the African American dream. By , Allensworth town flourished and rose with significant speed.

Several African Americans moved into the lands from all over the country and many bought lands to help support the dream. The school was successfully built after locals worked hard and raised five thousand dollars at the time to finance the construction. On September 14, , Allen Allensworth was killed by a motorcyclist in California at the age of 72 and Allensworth town saw a drastic decline after the death of its leader.


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Businesses began to fail and many sold their properties as a means of survival. Unfavourable weather conditions did not help the town either and several droughts destroyed farm products. At the start of World War I, residents began to abandon the town seeking refuge and safety from the war.

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Oscar Overr took over the town and was able to keep it together until when the State of California identified arsenic in the drinking water and ordered that the town is closed down. In , the California State Parks and Recreational Commission approved that the town is turned into a historic Park to protect what remained of it. He was charged with second-degree arson. Jurado "admitted to us that he started the fire," said Detective Capt. Thomas Krantz of North Tonawanda police. But the suspect denied writing the threatening letter to Walker.

However, we are still looking at the possibility that it is in fact he who wrote the letter.

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It could be this other person but that will be determined at a later date. Jurado did not have an attorney present when the judge entered the not guilty plea, but he will return to court August 11 to apply for a public defender, said court clerk Faith Elliott.


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Bob Brennan, president of the Gratwick Hose Fire Company, where Walker volunteers, said that when Walker showed him the letter on Monday evening he felt physically ill. After the fire, he said, he felt "disbelief and rage.

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Brennan, who is speaking on behalf of the family, said he has known Walker for four years and considers him a close friend. The suspect allegedly told police that the fire was not race-related, but that he was upset with the fire department after being removed from his position.

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Jurado was removed from the fire department in July for "not meeting the necessary training requirements," said Sikora, the fire chief. Jurado and Walker knew each other because they had taken some training courses together, authorities said. But Krantz wouldn't go into detail about possible motives for targeting Walker's home.


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Not in 26 years. Quite frankly, it sickens me. The family says the outpouring from the community has been overwhelming. Residents have brought food, money and clothes.

Walker has been a volunteer firefighter at Gratwick Hose Fire Company for two years. He helps in medical situations, Sikora said.