Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'  Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Fox Is Developing an American Remake of 'Luther' (But Not with Idris Elba Starring) Fox Is Developing an American Remake of 'Luther' (But Not with Idris Elba Starring) Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") White Women in LA Will Be Empowered by Black Women in New Series 'Bye Felicia!' (Watch Clip) White Women in LA Will Be Empowered by Black Women in New Series 'Bye Felicia!' (Watch Clip) Did Anyone Actually Like Lifetime's Aaliyah Movie? Also, Producer Wendy Williams Takes on Backlash Did Anyone Actually Like Lifetime's Aaliyah Movie? Also, Producer Wendy Williams Takes on Backlash Review: Refreshingly Diverse 'Big Hero 6' Will Make Kids and Science Lovers of all Ages Giddy Review: Refreshingly Diverse 'Big Hero 6' Will Make Kids and Science Lovers of all Ages Giddy Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Review: Five Things Missing from 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' Review: Five Things Missing from 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Meet The Real Butler Who Inspired 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 12, 2013 at 7:41PM

Despite my misgivings about the film that his life inspired (misgivings that have nothing to do with the real man himself, as I know him), if there's one very good thing that comes out of the release of Lee Daniels' The Butler, it's that it will likely generate public interest in the story of the real life butler, the late Eugene Allen - a story that apparently no one was interested in or intrigued by until journalist Wil Haygood, working on President Obama's 2008 presidential run, sought out stories from White House staff who had been employed there prior to the signing of the Civil Rights Act in the mid-1960s.
5
Eugene Allen
Eugene Allen

Despite my misgivings about the film that his life inspired (misgivings that have nothing to do with the real man himself, as I know him), if there's one very good thing that comes out of the release of Lee Daniels' The Butler, it's that it will likely generate public interest in the story of the real life butler, the late Eugene Allen - a story that apparently no one was interested in or intrigued by until journalist Wil Haygood, working on President Obama's 2008 presidential run, sought out stories from White House staff who had been employed there prior to the signing of the Civil Rights Act in the mid-1960s.

Up until that glorious moment, no one had ever taken an interest in Allen's story. And after that moment, no one else would get to hear Allen's story directly from Allen, because Haygood is the only journalist to have ever done so.

Allen died in 2010 at 90 years old - meaning he'll obviously never get to see the film that his life has inspired.

In the below video, Oprah Winfrey pays tribute (albeit a brief one) to Eugene Allen. 

What would be especially great (but likely impossible now, given that most of the players have moved on to the next life) is if a documentary on Allen's life were produced, to complement Daniels' film. Haygood has penned a book based on his interviews and time spent with Allen, so I suppose that's the next best thing:

This article is related to: Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels


Shadow & ActNewsletter