Can a historic Black town in California’s Central Valley be revitalized? Here’s the plan

A new effort formally launched Wednesday to revitalize and restore the Col. Allensworth State Historic Park, site of the once-thriving Black town in Tulare County.

On Wednesday morning, leaders from the newly-formed Global Economic Impact Group, which will lead and orchestrate the revitalization project, and representatives from California State Parks announced the partnership to revitalize the park.

Randall Cooper, chief executive officer of the Global Economic Impact Group, said the once-prosperous community of Allensworth was devastated by a series of racist decisions and policies and never was able to recover.

“We don’t have beaches. We will have the mountains,” Cooper said Wednesday. “So we have to create something to get people to want to come out here.”

More than a park revitalization, the work to restore Allensworth is to restore and honor Black history in California while bringing new tourism opportunities to the region.

Present at the event were also Mayor Bryan Osorio of Delano, Mayor Patricia Nolen of Corcoran, representatives from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional offices, the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Mother’s Against Gang Violence, the African American Network of Kern County Buffalo Soldiers, and representatives of the Allensworth State Historic Park Foundation.

Representatives on behalf of state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, U.S. Rep. David Valadao, and Tulare County Supervisor Vander Poel presented certificates to the various partners to commemorate the work to revitalize the historic state park.