By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO

Wife. Mother.Teacher.  Philanthropist and supporter of community causes. Loving heart of the Allen family home.  Those were among the titles and accolades showered on Martha P. Allen as she celebrated her 100th birthday among family and friends at Baltimore’s Bright Ideas Studio on Sept. 22.

Allen, wife of the late Milton Burke Allen, Baltimore’s first African-American state’s attorney and City Circuit Court judge, was an influential presence among Baltimore’s Black elite, offering a warm family atmosphere within the doors of their home.

Martha P. Allen celebrated her 100th birthday with many well wishers on Sept. 22. (Photo by Deborah Bailey)

“My advice is to be a friend to everyone. You’ll never regret it You’ll be surprised that you’ll find they will be a friend to you,” Allen said in response to the tributes from family and friends throughout the afternoon.

It was the open doors of the Allen home that many people hailed during their tributes. Whether it was for the scores of supporters who would stop in during her spouse’s election campaigns, church or community work, or to take in friends of the family, Martha Allen’s home became a place where dreams were launched into reality and a community could gather to plan a hope and a future.

“This is a great occasion for both of us.  I didn’t mind her being a mother to all the people who came through the house,” said David B. Allen, the centenarian’s oldest son.

“It was coming at us a mile a minute. The political office and her working for the United Negro College Fund. I did appreciate that I was in a special place with special people,” added middle son, Peter Allen.

Youngest son, Milton  said he always sensed he was growing up in a special home that was extended to a community that embraced him.

“Mom and Dad were just loving and opened the doors to so many in the Baltimore community. I have a lot of brothers,” he said.

Allen taught in the Baltimore City Public School System at the elementary level from 1938-1963 and served as chairperson of the United Negro College Fund for five consecutive years in the mid 1970s  with successive increases in fundraising for UNCF college students each year.

Allen is a lifetime member of the NAACP and of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church. She is also a member of Frederick Douglas High School Alumni, class of 1936, and the Coppin State University Alumni Chapter, class of 1938.

In recognition of the contributions Mrs. Allen has made to the city of Baltimore, proclamations from Congressman Elijah Cummings, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and 8th District Councilman Kristerfer Burnett were read.

Allen’s niece, Joan Patterson-Taylor, closed the festivities by asking those gathered to show a sign of recognition to the 100 years of love and service Martha Allen brought to the lives of all gathered.

“She’s been there for every single one of us,” said her great-nephew Adam Mayden, one of scores of millennials gathered to celebrate. He added, “She gives us an example of how we should want to live.