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Allen, James A.
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1922
James A. Allen was the first African American police detective in Cincinnati, OH. He was born in Greenupsburg [Greenup], KY, the son of Frank and Jane M. Allen [source: Ohio Death Record, for James A. Allen]. James A. Allen came to Cincinnati after working on steamboats for several years. He was a coachman for Robert J. Morgan in Walnut Hills, Cincinnati. Robert J. Morgan would become the Police Commissioner for Cincinnati. James A. Allen was still his coachman in 1886, according to Williams Cincinnati Directory, and by 1887, he was a Cincinnati policeman. A few years later he was named a detective. By 1892, there were 11 African Americans employed by the Cincinnati Police Department. James A. Allen was the only one who was a detective, along with eight patrolmen and two turnkeys who were African Americans [source: "Personal mention," Plaindealer, 08/12/1892, p. 6]. James A. Allen is listed in the 1900 Census as a detective who was single and lived alone, and he was mistakenly listed as white. His first wife had been Lugusta Adams Allen. His second wife was Maude I. Goodson Allen, born around 1882 in Mississippi, and according to the 1910 and 1920 census records, the couple lived on Richmond Street with their son James A. Allen, Jr. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney; and Images of America: Cincinnati Police History, by C. Mersch and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum.
Subjects: Migration North, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Greenupsburg [now Greenup], Greenup County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio