Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Real Story: “The Butler” and the Real Man Who Served Eight Presidents

posted by Nell Minow

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” has Forest Whitaker as a man who worked for eight Presidents in the White House from the time of Jim Crow segregation to the Civil Rights era.  It was inspired by the real-life story of Eugene Allen, who came to the White House to work for Harry Truman and stayed on through Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Just before Barack Obama was about to become America’s first black President, Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood thought it would be interesting to talk to a black employee in the White House “from the era of segregation.” He found Allen, and wrote “A Butler Well Served,”

Advertisement

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. “We had never had anything,” Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. “I was always hoping things would get better.”

Allen wore a tuxedo on the job and often worked six days a week.  He was proud that he never missed a day.  When he retired, President and Mrs. Reagan invited him to a State dinner.  As a guest.  He was able to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.  He died in 2010.

The new all-star film fictionalizes the details but has Forest Whitaker as a butler based on Allen and Oprah Winfrey as his wife, with history happening all around them, affecting time, sometimes in contrast to what their family experiences.

Advertisement

For more details, read Haygood’s new book about Eugene Allen, The Butler: A Witness to History.

Previous Posts

Tonight on PBS: A Capitol Fourth with Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, and KC and the Sunshine Band
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IQqWgdF1z0[/youtube] Tune in tonight to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS, featuring Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, and Lang Lang, and hosted by Bradley Whitford. And ...

posted 12:00:57pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Marvin Gaye Sings the Star Spangled Banner
Happy 4th of July! [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/34606761[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:38:56am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Declaration of Independence -- Happy 4th of July!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETroXvRFoKY ...

posted 7:00:25am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.