Frances Hopkins Allen
By Alice Key
Instilled an unquenchable determination to achieve despite all odds. Both a leader and visionary, “Miss Fannie” was known for her ability to get things done.
Fortunate indeed were those who were brought up in the Park Avenue Missionary Baptist Church because of “Miss Fannie” who enriched our childhood by the concern, creativity and commitment she exhibited as cultural leader and recreational director for the church.
The late Frances “Fannie” Hopkins Allen was a teenager herself when she began her activities for the development of the pre-teens and younger in our church and the surrounding community during our formative years.
She served as program director at the church and rehearsed us into pseudo professional status at all church observances and festivities. Aware of families’ limited resources for recreational activities, she organized and gained church approval for field trips and initiated us into hiking adventures. One memorable such hiking event took us all the way to Mockingbird Canyon Dam.
Her greatest contribution to the youth of Riverside was that she instilled into us a fierce pride of race and an unquenchable determination to achieve despite all odds.
In later years after she had become widowed and her children were grown, Miss Fannie resumed her deep commitment to the community’s youth. Among her many projects was the organization and implementation the the impressive Lincoln Park “Youth Day” festivities which became an annual civic event involving not only minority youngsters but all young people of our Riverside Community. It became a festive all day affair that included artistic and cultural displays, a gigantic parade and recreational activities all designed to showcase the talents and skills of our youth and to celebrate their heritage.
Last, but not least their is the “Old Timers Picnic” which was the idea of Miss Fannie. The first “Old Timers” picnic was held in Fairmount Park and drew more than 3,000 participants with many returning for the event from all over the country.
A wonderful lady who loved young people and who did much to enhance their lives.