Allen C. Thompson
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|Allen C. Thompson|
Thompson pictured in Ole Miss 1929, Mississippi yearbook
|Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi|
|Preceded by||Leland L. Speed|
|Succeeded by||Russell C. Davis|
|Born||Allen Cavett Thompson
November 6, 1906
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||October 18, 1980
St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.
Allen Thompson, Jr.
|Alma mater||University Of Mississippi|
Allen Cavett Thompson (November 6, 1906 – October 18, 1980) was an American politician in the state of Mississippi. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, and as mayor of Jackson, Mississippi for a total of 20 years.
Family and childhood
Thompson was born to Allen and Mattie Thompson. His father was an attorney, city prosecutor and city judge prior to his death in 1916. Allen, his brother and mother all had to work to help support the family.
Since owning cattle was prohibited inside the city limits, Mattie moved her family to the country where she could keep a milk cow and chickens to help feed the family. The house she owned, less the farm animals, still stands today and is no longer “in the country” but is located on Fairview Street in Belhaven. His mother worked as head dietician for a college while Allen and his brother performed odd jobs to help out.
When Allen was a teenager he was hired by a local doctor to drive him to Colorado each summer. The doctor would avoid the oppressive Mississippi heat by spending the summers in Colorado Springs. The trips were long and difficult considering there were no major interstate highways at the time and most of the drive was on two-lane dirt roads. Since the doctor only paid Allen to drive him there and back it was up to Allen to support himself while in Colorado. Allen was a natural athlete and before long was the tennis and golf teacher at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs.
Upon graduating from Central High School, Allen enrolled at the University Of Mississippi. During his time at "Ole Miss" he remained very active in sports and was the state tennis champion for three consecutive years.
In 1931 Allen obtained his license to practice law and returned to Jackson. During the next few years Allen and Evana had three children, Allen Jr., Shelby, and William I.S. "Billy" Thompson, who was elected in 1963 to the Mississippi House of Representatives over the Republican William Swan Yerger, later a Hinds County circuit court judge from 1997 to 2010 and the brother of the first Mississippi Republican state chairman Wirt Yerger of Jackson.
Thompson began his career in politics when he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1940. He served until he resigned to join the U.S. Navy in 1942. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was assigned to Naval Intelligence. He was honorably discharged on January 14, 1946 at which time he returned to Jackson and resumed his law practice.
Soon after his return he was appointed by Governor Bailey to be legislative liaison to the Governor. During this time he became President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, President of the Exchange Club, State Excise Tax Commissioner, and served on the board of Stewards at Galloway Methodist Church.
In 1948 Thompson, a Democrat, was elected mayor of the city of Jackson.
During Thompson's time as mayor, the area's population grew from 55,000 to 250,000. The number of public schools went from 18 to 58, the number of fire stations increased from 6 to 17, and 350 people were added to the police force. The city had one library in 1949 but the mayor built a new, more modern facility and added five branches. He was instrumental in the construction of the Memorial Stadium, the Mississippi Coliseum, the Ross Barnett Reservoir, the Municipal Auditorium, the location of the University Medical center, Interstate I-55 and the development of the Jackson Airport.
During his time as mayor, he was elected twice as President of the American Municipal Association. He was the United States Southern Representative to the International Union of Cities, which was held in Brighton, England where 350 cities and 30 nations were represented. He was involved with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, his cabinet, and heads of select Federal and State Agencies in developing a national atomic civil defense program.
Thompson was a controversial figure during the Civil Rights era, going so far as to purchase a International Harvester Loadstar 1600, outfitted in paramilitary gear in order to assault Civil Rights protestors assembling in Jackson, in the effort to obtain the vote for African Americans. The device was colloquially known as "Thompson's Tank".
After 20 years as mayor of the city of Jackson, Allen Thompson announced his retirement in 1969. After retiring, he practiced law. He died of a heart attack in October 1980 during a vacation to Florida. At the time of his death he had been farming. His funeral was October 20, 1980.
- Billy Hathorn, "Challenging the Status Quo: Rubel Lex Phillips and the Mississippi Republican Party (1963-1967)", The Journal of Mississippi History XLVII, November 1985, No. 4, p. 254
- "Social Security Death Index [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. 2009. Archived from the original on 5 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06.