In one significant case, the Peyton Road Wall in 1962, Allen indicated that his understanding of the need for racial improvement was not complete.
As Blacks moved into white neighborhoods, the city government under Hartsfield had made strenuous efforts to stem that migration and maintain segregated neighborhoods. Allen revealed similar intentions when in 1962 he allowed the building of the Peyton Road Wall, an actual barrier made of concrete and steel, as part of an effort to maintain a white neighborhood. The Wall, although short-lived, was a disaster for the Mayor and for Atlanta. The action raised serious questions about Allen’s racial attitudes and his understanding of black needs for housing. The Atlanta Wall, as it was called in comparison to the Berlin Wall, was a grievous mistake as Allen admitted, and the last time a roadblock was used for segregation. A judge ruled the barrier unconstitutional, and Allen eagerly tore it down. Although other controversial decisions followed in his years as mayor, this incident was the low point.
Biography by Ronald Bayor, Professor Emeritus of History, Georgia Tech