James B. Allen

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James Browning Allen, Sr.

In office
January 3, 1969 – June 1, 1978
Serving with John Sparkman
Preceded by Lister Hill
Succeeded by Maryon Pittman Allen

17th and 20th
Lieutenant Governor
of Alabama
In office
January 15, 1951 – January 17, 1955
Governor Gordon Persons
Preceded by James C. Inzer
Succeeded by William G. Hardwick]]
In office
January 14, 1963 – January 16, 1967
Governor George Wallace
Preceded by Albert Boutwell
Succeeded by Albert Preston Brewer

Alabama State Senator
In office

Alabama State Representative
for Etowah County
In office

Born December 28, 1912
Gadsden, Etowah County,
Died June 1, 1978 (aged 65)
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Resting place Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden, Alabama
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) (1) Marjorie Stephens Allen (died 1956)

(2) Maryon Pittman Mullins Allen (married 1964-1978, his death)

Children From first marriage:

James Allen, Jr.

Alma mater University of Alabama

UA School of Law

Military Service
Service/branch United States Navy Reserve
Years of service 1943–1946

James Browning Allen, Sr. (December 28, 1912 – June 1, 1978), was a Democratic United States Senator from his native, Gadsden, Alabama. A conservative, he was at odds with the leadership and most other members of his political party.

Life and career

Allen attended the University of Alabama and the UA School of Law, both located in Tuscaloosa. He practiced law in Gadsden from 1935 to 1968, when he was elected to the Senate.

While serving in the state House of Representative from 1938 to 1942, he resigned his seat to enter active duty in the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. After World War II, he again ran for office and was a state senator from 1946 to 1950. He was the 17th and 20th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955 and again from 1963 to 1967, under his ally George C. Wallace[1]

In 1968, Allen was elected to succeed the retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Lister Hill of the capital city of Montgomery, who was more liberal than Allen. In the election, Allen polled 638,774 votes (84 percent) against his Republican opponent, Perry Oliver Hooper, Sr. (1925-2016), who received 201,227 (16 percent) and still ran more than 54,000 votes ahead of the Republican national ticket of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. .[2] Hooper's namesake son, Perry O. Hooper, Jr., is a former state representative. The senior Hooper later resurfaced politically and served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Like his Republican Senate colleague, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Allen was a master of parliamentary procedure. He was considered to have revived the filibuster rule during his nearly nine years as a senator.[3] Allen was known as one of the most conservative Democrats in the chamber, far more conservative than many of the Moderate Republicans at that time. He was an active opponent of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1978. Allen received one vote for the Republican vice-presidential nomination at the 1976 Republican National Convention.[4]

Allen served in the Senate until his death of a heart attack at the age of sixty-five. He was vacationing at the time of his death in the popular resort community of Gulf Shores, Alabama. He is interred at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden.[1]

Governor Wallace, under whom Allen served previously as lieutenant governor, appointed Allen's widow, Maryon Pittman Mullins Allen (1925-2018), to succeed him in the Senate.[5] However, Mrs. Allen lost the special Democratic primary to fill the remaining two years of her husband's term to the more liberal Donald Wilbur Stewart (born 1940) of Anniston, a favorite of organized labor. Stewart then defeated former U.S. Representative James Douglas Martin (1918-2017) of Gadsen, who became the nominee after a primary had already been held between George W. Nichols and Elvin McCary, also of Anniston, and a longtime friend of Senator Allen's. For the change in nominees to occur, Nichols, who defeated McCary in the special Republican primary, had to agree to step down from the race.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 James Browning Allen (1912-1978) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed August 28, 2021.
  2. Billy Hathorn, "A Dozen Years in the Political Wilderness: The Alabama Republican Party, 1966–1978", Gulf Coast Historical Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 1994), p. 30
  3. "Allen's Widow is Named to Senate," The New York Times, June 9, 1978.
  4. US Vice President – R Convention. Our Campaigns. Retrieved on August 28, 2021.
  5. Maryon Pittman Allen (1925-2018) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed August 28, 2021.
  6. "A Dozen Years in the Political Wilderness," pp. 36-37.