Eugene Allen was a black man unknown to the headlines, but now, his "mostly fictitious" story is playing out on the big screen in an Oscar-baiting, pro-Obama film with a sprawling cast including Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Liev Schrieber, Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker.
The Butler, touching on every significant moment and movement in the country’s 20th century racial history, begins by showing Cecil Gaines on a Georgia plantation picking cotton with his father (David Banner). After his mother (Mariah Carey, in a wordless performance) becomes catatonic after being raped by the plantation owner (Alex Pettyfer) and his father is subsequently murdered, Cecil is essentially orphaned. The woman in charge of the plantation (Vanessa Redgrave) takes pity on him and makes him a houseboy, the beginning of his life-long career as a domestic.
Allen, however, was born in Virginia, and, according to Haygood, never spoke bitterly about his upbringing or hinted at the monstrosities depicted in the film. He was a plantation houseboy in Virginia and did, as Cecil does in the film, leave in the pursuit of better employment. And that scene where Cecil lands his first job as a waiter after being caught stealing food by a sympathetic senior butler who helps him turn his life around? ALL FICTION - just for the movie.
As Cecil’s wife, Gloria, Oprah Winfrey gives the film’s most layered performance. She battles an alcohol addiction, struggles with guilt over an affair, and weathers the emotional torture of a fractured family—her husband devotes his life to the White House, her eldest son joins the front lines of the dangerous civil rights movement, and her younger son is killed in Vietnam.
In reality, Allen’s wife, Helene, did not have a problem with alcohol nor did she have an affair. The biggest liberty taken, however, was giving Cecil two sons in the film. Eugene and Helene only had one son, Charles. Charles did serve in Vietnam, but is still alive. Louis, the older son in The Butler and a Freedom Rider and early member of the Black Panther Party, is the lens through which much of the film’s depiction of the civil rights movement is seen—he was invented for the film.- ALL FICTION.
Cecil’s first day at the White House, as portrayed in the film, is a doozy. It is the day President Eisenhower decides that the White House must intervene to ensure the safe integration of black students in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s the first of many historic moments in the civil rights movement that Cecil would witness as a silent servant in the Oval Office.
Eugene Allen was actually serving Eisenhower and his advisers on that dramatic day—there are photos to prove it—but his real first day was during the Truman administration. He began as a pantry worker in 1952, and was promoted to butler years later.
After a two-hour tour through the ugliest moments of the country’s history, The Butler concludes with one of those lump-in-the-throat rousing moments that wins applause at the end of screenings. Wearing the tie given to him by Jackie Kennedy and a tie clip he received from Lyndon Johnson, Cecil is last seen making the same walk he made nearly 60 years earlier when he first interviewed for his job at the White House. This time, he was walking to meet President Obama for the first time.
It’s not clear whether Allen actually met President Obama, but he did attend his swearing-in ceremony, with a VIP invitation, no less. “Eyes watering, he watched the first black man take the oath of office of the presidency,” Haygood wrote in his obituary of Allen in 2010.
Source: Kevin Fallon
Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman has declared that the U.S. is still waiting for its first black president because Barack Obama doesn't qualify. Making the controversial comments on NPR, Freeman said that even though President Obama identifies himself as African-American, the fact remains that his mother was a white woman from the Great Plains.
“First thing that pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier…they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white – very white American, Kansas, middle of America.”
Obama checked off “black” on the 2010 Census. He conveniently forgot he’s a half-white guy raised by a white mother and white grandparents. Just because he was born with more African American features, doesn't make him any more African than Caucasian.
Half-white Obama hired a black butt-ler named Reggie Love who worked as oBUMa's bodyman. Read all about it.