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SBCUSD Students Experience a Piece of California’s African American Cultural History: Allensworth

Milner Barbershop- Started by Frank Milner in 1911

Milner Barbershop- Started by Frank Milner in 1911

By Angela M. Coggs

On Saturday, October 8, 2016 a group of students from the San Bernardino City Unified School District attended the Annual

Milner Barbershop- Actual equipment used in 1911

Milner Barbershop- Actual equipment used in 1911

Rededication event at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Earlimart, California from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Established in 1908, Allensworth was the first town in California to be founded, financed, governed and populated by blacks.

The rededication ceremony is an opportunity for park users and supporters to renew their commitment to the park and its symbolic representation of African American self-determination. Events scheduled throughout the year bring the town to life and inspire a new interest in returning Allensworth to its glory days as a vibrant, successful town.

This was the first trip to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park for this group of chaperones, parents, and students from San Bernardino. “It was an enriching experience. One which I intend to repeat and share.” said Katella Coggs, one of the chaperones. “It was gratifying to see how much the youth absorbed the information. It illustrated how much this knowledge is craved and needed.”

The day consisted of tours given by docents (a person who is a knowledgeable guide, especially one who conducts visitors through a museum/historical site and delivers a commentary on the exhibitions), puppets shows, and square dancing, and entertainment, food and vendor booths. The short documentary about the town played on a loop in one of the old barns on the site.      

“I never heard of Allensworth until today,” said Yonathan Habtemariam, 10th grade student at Cajon High School. “It was very interesting to hear the docents tell the history of the town and how people continue to preserve the history of this ethnically diverse contribution made in the development of California. My favorite parts were the barbershop and learning the true story about the Buffalo Soldiers.”                                

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, located 30 miles north of Bakersfield, is a modest but growing assemblage of restored and reconstructed buildings today. A schoolhouse, a Baptist

Allensworth’s Schoolhouse- In 1912, Allensworth became California’s first African American School District.

Allensworth’s Schoolhouse- In 1912, Allensworth became California’s first African American School District.

church, businesses, a hotel, a library, and various other structures symbolize the rebirth of one man’s dream of an independent, democratic town where African Americans could live in control of their own destiny. Allensworth traveled throughout the eastern and mid-western stated lecturing and promoting Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of African American self-reliance.

Colonel Allen Allensworth and Professor William Payne both firmly believed that, through education and hard work, African Americans could rise above the effects of slavery, attain greater social stature, and more fully realize their potential as a people. They had a mutual desire to live in an environment where African Americans could live free from discrimination, merge their values with those of other pioneers of like mind to establish an independent, self-sufficient colony.

“(I had a) wonderful day learning about our rich and prosperous history of resilience, survival, and entrepreneurialism at Allensworth State Historic Park. We enjoyed live music, dancing and food. We supported black businesses and toured historical sites,” said Trimonisha Singer. “Amazing is an understatement. I am so thankful to be able to share it with our youth.”

Before heading out to Allensworth, the students were given a brief history of Colonel Allen Allensworth and the town that was named in his honor. The trip was a success and the youth were exposed to history that is not taught in school or mentioned in text books. African-American parents, grandparent, and “the village” must be responsible and teach their children about their history. The group looks forward to returning to Allensworth for other events in the future. It certainly takes a village to raise future generations to come.

Allenstown- Water Company Documents

Allenstown- Water Company Documents

Buffalo Solider Uniform

Buffalo Solider Uniform

Schoolhouse Flag- This old flag only has 48 stars on it.

Schoolhouse Flag- This old flag only has 48 stars on it.

The students getting a lesson from a docent on the history of the Buffalo Soliders.

The students getting a lesson from a docent on the history of the Buffalo Soliders.

11th Annual Taste of Soul Food and Festival in L.A. Draws Packed Out Crowd

Angela Coggs

Angela Coggs

By Angela M. Coggs

On Saturday, October 15, 2016 over 350,000 residents converged on Crenshaw Boulevard for Los Angeles’ largest street festival and the largest gathering of African American Businesses in the country- Taste of Soul. Bakewell Media hosted the 11th Annual Taste of Soul Food and Family Festival 2016 from 10:00am to 7:00pm in Los Angeles, California. The event took place on Crenshaw Blvd. between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Rodeo.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Isadore Hall III, and Taste of Soul Founder Danny Bakewell

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Isadore Hall III, and Taste of Soul Founder Danny Bakewell

This year’s festival themed: “It’s A Family Affair” has become the 11th in what is now known as a destination event for all of not only the city of Los Angeles but Los Angeles County and surrounding communities. It was attended by over 350,000 men, women, students, children, celebrities and dignitaries from all over Southern California and across the United States, including a few residents from Riverside County.

“I had a great time. Everyone was so cool,” said LaToya Jones, teacher in the Riverside Unified School District for the past 15 years. This was her second time attending the Taste of Soul with her husband David. “I ABSOLUTELY loved Jazmine Sullivan’s performance. She is a true beauty with an incomparable voice and humble heart. The KJLH DJ had the crowd moving. The food was scrumptious. I can’t wait until next year.”

The event was a success. Free concerts took place on three major stages (KJLH, The Wave, and McDonalds). This year’s TOS was bigger and better than ever. With radio partners KJLH and 94.7 The Wave pulling together first class entertainment. KJLH featured contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. Hosted by KJLH radio personality DJ Mal-Ski. This year, KJLH 102.3 radio station celebrated TOS’s eleventh anniversary by bringing back some local talent and artists such as MAJOR, Guordan Banks, 112, Mike “Mike Philly” Phillips, and Jazmine Sullivan. The KJLH music stage was sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings.

94.7 The WAVE, whose music stage is sponsored by Budweiser this year, has been a media partner and radio sponsor with the Taste of Soul Festival since 2008.This year, the radio station took music lovers back to some of the greatest hits from artists including Chosen Recovery Gospel Group, On Tour, Tom Browne, Troop and War.

Mike Philly

Mike Philly

The gospel stage which in year two was only a small stage in front of the Sentinel offices, has now has grown to feature The McDonalds Gospel Fest on the Brenda Marsh Mitchell Gospel Stage. The 2016 Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour at Taste of Soul featured every genre within the gospel music industry: contemporary, traditional, inspirational, instrumental, hip-hop, and comedy. Hosted by syndicated radio personality Lonnie Hunter, attendees experienced

Jazmine Sullivan- Incomparable Vocalist

Jazmine Sullivan- Incomparable Vocalist

renowned gospel artists Donald Lawrence, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark-Sheard, Charles Jenkins, Jonathan McReynolds, Canton Jones, and Doug Williams. Also, acclaimed comedian, Small Fire provided entertainment for the entire family and community to enjoy.

There were various food and non-food vendors in attendance. Some of the notable food vendors included (African) Cocoa & Pitta Catering and Rafikiz Foodz, (American) Da Mudd Duck and Dipping Chicken, (BBQ) Big Mama’s Succulent & Savory BBQ, Bludso’s BBQ, Dulan’s, Gettch Grubb On, Not Your Mama’s Kitchen and Shabazz Good Food, (Creole & Jamaican) L.A. Jerk Shack and Smhokin Pot, and (Desserts & Treats) Sharon’s Heavenly Cobblers, Coco’s Lip Smacking Cupcakes, and Fun Time Kettle Corn.

There was plenty of love and no incidents were reported. This event has grown from having 35,000 in 2005 people in attendance during the first year to have over 350,000 in 2016. Over 350,000 African Americans gathered in the Black Community to celebrate, to share in a day of unity, love and togetherness.

Last year, Kamala Harris, currently California Attorney General now running for the United States Senate, attended the Taste of Soul in 2015. “It’s one of the most enjoyable things I do all year. Where else can you have all of the community turn out, family… it’s about love of community, supporting our local businesses. It is really one of the most important events in all of Los Angeles.”

It’s been called Los Angeles’s largest street festival for good reason. Thousands of attendees arrive every year to indulge in the “soulful.” From soul food to soul music, it’s hard not to have a great time. It’s a local gem that will be back again next year and the people are already looking forward to it.

 

 

Entertainment Journalist Launches Socially Consciousness Apparel and Accessory Line

Men’s Purpose Tank available online now. Photo by Naomi K. Bonman

Men’s Purpose Tank available online now. Photo by Naomi K. Bonman

RIVERSIDE, CA- Defining and bridging the gap between entertainment and socially consciousness news for millennials of color, veteran journalist Naomi K. Bonman decided that to launch a new platform under her entertainment platform Sophisticated Relations. 

Purposely Awakened was officially launched in Summer 2016 with the sole purpose of making millennials more aware of their culture, history, and business perspectives because in order for change to be created, you first have to know who you are, where you come from, and where you are going. When you know where you’re going, then you know your purpose and are ‘Purposely Awakened’. 

Just has Sophisticated Relations, Purposely Awakened started as a media site and Instagram page for people to go to and receive news and information on the things that really matter and makes a benefit in life. Now the site is expanding and offers clothing and accessories that promote brand identity and culture awareness.

To check out the store and to make a purchase, please visit www.purposelyawakened.com/shop. Also be sure to follow them on Instagram @PurposelyAwakened_, Twitter @PurposelyAwake_, and Facebook: PurposelyAwakenedMovement.