African-American parents during my childhood had a habit of saying that their occupation was responsible for everything we had. During this time, the fifties and sixties and seventies, If you had friends who are black they will probably remember their parent saying this to them. Especially when it appeared that they were ungrateful or unappreciative toward the parents and the hard earned money and the sacrifices they made for their family.
My father would often say, everything you have is because of the Church, He was a pastor and minister at nine African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Kentucky and Tennessee.
That was often a hard pill for me to swallow. I would prefer he say, that everything you have is because of and by The Grace of God. God works through people and institutions and leaders. But I get his point given the tremendous politcal and social change that took place during the backdrop of the film, The Butler.
The Butler, some parts fictional others reality, brings home the fact that during this time, the time that real life Butler, Eugene Allen, actually worked at the White House from 1952 to 1986. This period was one of the most significant periods of racial change that this country has ever experienced. It was also a period of social and political change that helped to move African Americans to the center of social and economic mainstream.
This movie was masterful and chronicled how Presidents changed and influenced collegues to address the issue of discrimination and defeating servitude in the south. Although many parts of the film were fictional, history reflects the accuracy of the events that were chronicled in the film.
It was a moving and riveting film, especially for all of us who grew up in this period. There are many movies depicting this era, but the backdrop of the White House, made this film more memorable and on cue than any other.
I was born in 1954, that makes me 59 years old and I too went through this discrimination in the south during this same time. More to come as a reblog the many articles addressing this time that I experienced and in which my Father directly participated in as Minister and Pastor.