During our 50th Anniversary Celebration, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage will continue to dig deep into our collection to bring you significant stories of Mississippians from all walks of life.
1978 – From a young age, Burris Dunn of Jackson was interested in learning the printing business. In this episode, he recalls going to work for a political newspaper owned by Governor Theodore Bilbo in 1923. The Mississippi Free Lance newspaper’s sole purpose was to promote the re-election of Governor Bilbo. Dunn describes working in the printing plant for the charismatic politician.
After Bilbo was elected to a second term in 1927, he lost interest in owning a newspaper. Dunn remembers finding work at another printing house before being called back by the Governor to aid in the election of a political ally.
In the early 1930s, Dunn was working in a Jackson printing house and barely making ends meet. He recounts buying a small printing press and setting up shop in his garage to earn extra money.
PHOTO: Senator Theodore G. Bilbo.
The Mississippi Moments Decades Series continues counting down to the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2021. This week we look at the life of George Edward Allen. Few figures of the 20th Century had a bigger impact on American politics and business.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Allen became an attorney, but made a name for himself early as an investment banker with Halsey-Stuart. After a large investment in a hotel company threatened to go bad, the firm took over the company and sent Allen to Washington DC to oversee operations. He did well in hotel management and his continued rise through the ranks of the Democratic Party eventually netted him a position in the Roosevelt administration. His penchant for using humor to diffuse tense situations earned him the nickname “Court Jester,” a moniker that he enjoyed, but his wife did not.
After serving in two administrations, Allen returned to the business world as a consultant. It is said that in his day he held more board of directors positions than anyone on the planet. He amassed considerable wealth and was active in many philanthropic organizations. Allen passed away less than five months after this interview, on April 23, 1973. He is buried in the family plot in Booneville.
1972 - Booneville native, George Allen became interested in politics at a young age. In this episode, he recalls attending his first political convention as an alternate delegate in 1912 at the age of 16.
In 1933, Allen was appointed Mayor of Washington DC by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He then served in the Truman administration as Secretary of Political Appointments. He explains how that position made him unpopular with certain party bosses.
George Allen served in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and was a close personal friend of President Eisenhower. He compares the personalities of the three men.
After serving in two administrations, George Allen returned to the private sector as a paid consultant. He credits luck and opportunity as important factors to his success.