James Edward Allen (1939-2007) was a musician, artist, writer, and career criminal who spent the latter part of his life as an inmate in the Indiana State Prison system. Born in Gary, Indiana, he immersed himself early in a life of drug, sex, and crime, and was eventually convicted of murder. Despite the restrictions of the prison environment, Allen produced numerous pieces of collage artwork, many of which are now part of the collection of the National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio. Big-N-Nothin’, his only novel, is a story of gang life in the black ghettos of Gary and Chicago’s south side during the period of the mid-70s.
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