Maybelle Reid Allen, 85, passed away on Friday, Dec. 9, at her home of 66 years in Oakland, California. A native of Berkeley, California, Mrs. Allen was the descendant of African-American pioneers who migrated to California from the South before the Civil War, and was the 12th of 13 children of Thomas Reid Sr. and Virginia (Jennie) Parker Reid of Berkeley.
She was the widow of Ernest Allen Sr., the appellant in the 1952-53 legal struggle that desegregated the Oakland Fire Department. Between them, Maybelle and Ernest Allen operated Supreme Market in the East Oakland flatlands, an economic and social anchor in the community for more than 40 years and one of the most successful and beloved Mom & Pop grocery stores in the history of the city.
Mrs. Allen is survived by one sister, Hazel Huff of Phoenix, Arizona, three children, University of Massachusetts professor Ernest Allen Jr. of Amherst, Massachusetts, author and journalist Bonnie Allen of New York City, Berkeley Daily Planet reporter Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor of Oakland, eight grandchildren, Malik Allen, Kamili Allen Samms, Antonio Allen, Paloma Allen-Davis, Fonta Allen, Zena Allen, Nile Taylor and Olabayo Allen Taylor, and three great-grandchildren, Aziza Allen, Gerald Polk and Desmond Allen Samms.
Maybelle Reid Allen was a rock and an inspiration. She will be missed.