April 25, 1919
January 31, 1964
Age at Death:
Mr. Allen was a businessman in Liberty, Mississippi and a native of Amite County, Mississippi, where he was born in 1919. The county was majority African-American, with an economy based on agriculture: cotton, dairy farming and logging. Many blacks left before World War II because of poor economic opportunities, racial violence, and social oppression under Jim Crow, decreasing the black population by 29% from 1940 to 1960, following earlier declines. Mr. Allen served in the US Army during the war; enlisting at the age 23. After his return to Mississippi, he worked as a logger and farm laborer. He and his wife had four children. He built up his own logging business, doing well enough to buy his own land, where he and his family raised produce and cattle.
Mr. Allen was shot and killed during the civil rights era. He had tried to register to vote and had allegedly talked to federal officials after witnessing the 1961 murder of Herbert Lee, an NAACP member, by E. H. Hurst, a white state legislator. Civil rights activists had come to Liberty to organize voter registration, as no African-American had been allowed to vote since the state's disenfranchising constitution was passed in 1890. Mr. Allen was harassed and jailed repeatedly by Amite County Sheriff Daniel Jones. The day before he planned to move out of state, Allen was fatally shot on his own property.
Was justice served?
No. Mr. Allen was seeking protection from the Justice Department/FBI and they told him they could not protect him. There was some belief of pressure from the KKK. Since the late 20th century, his case has been investigated by Tulane University history professor Plater Robinson. The case was reopened by the FBI beginning in 2007 as part of its review of civil rights-era cold cases. In 2011 the CBS program 60 Minutes conducted a special on his murder as well. Their work suggested that Allen was killed by Sheriff Jones. However, no one has been prosecuted for the murder. Source: