Allen and his wife Helene, who passed away before the 2008 election, prayed for Obama to win. Columbia Pictures bought the film rights to Allen's life story, and he was invited to Obama's inauguration, where he commented, "That's the man...Whew, I'm telling you, it's something to see. PHOTOS: President Obama's A-list pals ... And Oprah, my girl, she can act," President Obama … Allen reflected on one of his favorite memories, where First Lady Betty Ford stated at President Ford’s birthday party, “It’s Gene’s birthday too!”10, Allen dutifully served in the White House while also sharing personal bonds with several of the presidents and their families. Allen observed social changes that would not only transform race relations across the country, but also inside the White House. He served eight presidents of the United States. Hamil R. Harris, “First Lady Honors White House Workers: School Event Teaches Children of Devotion,” Washington Post. He washed dishes, stocked cabinets and shined silverware. Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn share a sweet New Year's kiss Eugene and Helen Allen were married for 65 wonderful years before Helene passed away on November 3, 2008, on the eve of the 2008 historic election of Barack Obama as U.S. President. Thousands of Images covering the History of the White House, Official White House Ornaments, Books & More, witness some of the most pivotal movements. Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served presidents from Harry S. Truman through Ronald Reagan, has died. In 1816, Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr. and his wife Susan moved to the nascent capital city of Washington, D.C. With... First Lady Lou Hoover's invitation to Jessie L. DePriest to a White House tea party in 1929 created a storm of... For more than two centuries, the White House has been the home of American presidents. Although he lived to see Barack Obama achieve the highest office, as a boy Eugene Allen knew the infamy of segregation. Allen died of renal failure Wednesday at a … "[5] He was invited to the funeral, but chose to stay at work to prepare for the reception, because "Someone had to be at the White House to serve everyone after they came from the funeral. It placed Allen's life in the context of changing race relations and the personalities of the presidents he'd served. It ended with the story of how the couple intended to vote for Obama together but Helene died just before the election, They talked about praying to help Barack Obama get to the White House. The man in the kitchen.” [11] The film departs from the facts of Allen's life. Wil Haygood, “Eugene Allen, White House butler for 8 presidents, dies at 90,” Washington Post. [3], Allen was born in Buckingham County, Virginia and raised on Shirland Farm near Scottsville. He was all alone. When Allen accepted this position at the White House, he did not expect to witness some of the most pivotal movements of the twentieth century. He first worked as a waiter at a Virginia resort and later, in Washington, D.C., during the Great Depression, he found a job at a country club. Kevin Clark / The Washington Post / Getty Images. And she’d get supper going afterward...On Monday Helene had a doctor’s appointment. Allen died March 31, 2010. Public History Fellow. EUGENE ALLEN DIED IN MARCH 2010, AT THE AGE OF 90. On January 20, 2009, Allen attended Obama's inauguration with … Eugene Allen, who endured a harsh and segregated upbringing in his native Virginia and went on to work for eight presidents as a White House butler, died March 31 of renal failure at Washington Adventist Hospital in … Making Connections in the President's Neighborhood, Pulling Back the Curtain on the Executive Mansion, Bethany Nagle For the president, you changed your appointments.”15, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush mailed a letter of condolence after Allen’s wife Helene passed away on the eve of the election of President Barack Obama.16. "[4], Allen and other workers who served presidents were featured in a 32-minute documentary, Workers at the White House, directed by Marjorie Hunt and released on a 2009 DVD, White House Workers: Traditions and Memories by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.[10]. Clarence Lusane, The Black History of the White House (San Francisco: Open Media Series, 2011, 270. Columbia is bringing the story of Eugene Allen, a black man who served as a White House butler for 34 years, to the big screen. Eugene Allen was invited to President Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 21, 2009. Allen discussed the importance of his job, saying, “It never snowed too deep or rained too hard for you not to go to work every day. But then he got up and put his coat back on. Allen was born in Buckingham County, Virginia and raised on Shirland Farm near Scottsville. "[4] Allen never missed a day of work in 34 years.[6]. The movie is inspired by Eugene Allen, a real White House butler who started in 1952 with Harry Truman when he couldn't use white bathrooms in the South. Lee Daniels' upcoming film The Butler was inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House as a pantry worker, butler, and later maître d’ for eight Presidents from the Truman to Reagan administrations. DC3. [7], The story had an immediate impact. "White House butler Eugene Allen's humility recalled at funeral", Washington Post, April 9, 2010. They had one child—a son, named Charles.3 Allen first heard about a job opening at the White House in 1952 and decided to meet with Alonzo Fields, who served as White House maître d’.4. The movie, “The Butler,” was inspired by Allen’s story. A few days after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the Washington Post published an article about a black butler who served in the White House for 34 years, under eight presidents, from Truman to Reagan. But he volunteered … Allen was the first White House butler ever to be invited as a guest to a state dinner. He visited former President Eisenhower at his home in Gettysburg after his administration.11 After the assassination of President Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy presented Allen with one of the president’s ties. How many weddings have been held at the White House? This article was originally published The couple had been married 65 years. Seeing him standing there, it's been worth it all. Eugene Allen at President Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009 as a VIP guest. At first, he though nothing of it, recalling, “I wasn’t even looking for a job, I was happy where I was working.” However, after meeting with th… Eugene Allen's was one of them. In 1957, his best friend, Eugene Allen, who worked as a White House butler, asked whether he would like a job there. In fact, he was working as a waiter at a country club in Washington, D.C. when he heard about the potential position in the White House. The Historic Stephen Decatur House. It’s not clear whether Allen actually met President Obama, but he did attend his swearing-in ceremony, with a VIP invitation, no less. A figure in the tiniest of print. Just a couple of miles from the White House, in a rundown neighbourhood off Georgia Avenue, lives a … Eugene Allen’s life is the focus of the 2013 film The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, and starring Forest Whitaker as the title character and Oprah Winfrey as his wife. The couple had one son, Charles Allen. 7. This made him privy to private conversations and debates regarding African American rights. Eugene Allen serves First Lady Nancy Reagan and guests at a gathering in the Red Room. Allen was born in 1919 on a plantation farm near Scottsville in central Virginia.1 During his youth, he worked as a waiter at a resort in Virginia and at a country club in Washington, D.C.2 He met his wife Helene at a party in 1942 and they married soon after. Wil Haygood, The Butler: A Witness to History. [1] He worked as a waiter for many years, in "whites-only resorts and country clubs", including The Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, and a club in Washington.[4]. February 9, 2017, Next The special times he shared with the presidents and their families reveal the daily life at the White House amidst these historic chapters of the United States.18. Allen's life was the inspiration for the 2013 film The Butler. Gene woke and nudged her once, then again. The White House Historical Association, chartered in 1961, is a nonprofit historical and educational organization that plays a vital role in... Construction on the President’s House began in 1792. He nudged Helene again. Eugene Allen, who endured a harsh and segregated upbringing in his native Virginia and went on to work for eight presidents as a White House butler, died Wednesday of renal failure at Washington Adventist Hospital in suburban Takoma Park, Md. November 7, 2008. Even though Allen was not searching for new employment, he accepted a job as a pantry man. When Allen retired in 1986, he had served the White House as a pantry man, butler, and maître d’.14 During his retirement, first families remained in contact with Allen and his family. Allen was particularly affected by the murder of President Kennedy in 1963. He was later invited to the inauguration, which he attended with his son Charles, his daughter-in-law Ortaciana and author Wil Haygood on January 20, 2009. After Wil Haygood’s article was published in the Washington Post it received national attention. Charles would go on to fight in the Vietnam War. He attended the ceremony with his son, Charles, and Haygood. [7] Reagan invited Allen and his wife Helene to a state dinner in honor of Helmut Kohl at the White House. Over the years Allen rose in his position, becoming the butler to the president. President Ford shaking hands with Eugene Allen before his final departure at the White House on January 20, 1977. Eugene Allen’s 2010 obituary He was in the White House kitchen the day JFK was slain. In the end, Eugene Allen, a White House butler who lived a life behind the scenes of history, was the subject of wide acclaim. The central character, "Cecil Gaines", is only loosely based on the real Allen. Eugene Allen (Scottsville, 14 de julho de 1919 — Takoma Park, 31 de março de 2010) [1] foi um garçom e mordomo americano que trabalhou para o governo dos EUA na Casa Branca por 34 anos até se aposentar como mordomo em 1986.. A vida de Allen foi a inspiração para o filme de 2013 The Butler. He shuffled around to her side of the bed. Eugene Allen (July 14, 1919 – March 31, 2010)[2] was an American waiter and butler who worked for the US government at the White House for 34 years until he retired as the head butler in 1986. Allen’s life story was published in the Washington Post by journalist Wil Haygood soon after President Obama’s historic election in 2008.17 Allen’s story spread across the country and he received a VIP invitation to President-Elect Obama’s inauguration. According to his son, "My father came home late on the day that President Kennedy had been shot. Eugene Allen represented, as journalist Wil Haygood wrote, “ … Eugene Allen served in the White House for 34 years. Allen received a VIP invitation to Obama’s inauguration with a Marine guard escort. Animals -- whether pampered household pets, working livestock, birds, squirrels, or strays -- have long been a major part of... White House staff who lived at the President’s House during the nineteenth century, including enslaved and free African Americans, us... What is it like to live at the White House? The only time Allen spoke regarding the Vietnam War was when President Johnson asked him if his son was still alive.9, President Gerald R. Ford and Allen also shared their birthday, July 14. “I woke up and my wife didn’t,” he said later. He was 90. Born on July 14 1919 at … As a butler, Allen frequently served the president and his guests. Eugene Allen was born in 1919 in the town of Scottsville on a Virginia plantation and grew up during the horrific time of Southern segregation. (The movie was loosely inspired by real-life White House butler Eugene Allen.) Allen cherished this memento by having it framed and hung in his home.12 Allen and his wife received many photos, letters and Christmas cards throughout the years from both former and current presidents. He said, 'I've got to go back to work.' Despite the loss of his wife the day prior, Eugene went and placed his vote the following day. They met at a birthday party in Washington in 1942, and married a year later in 1943. Several hundred people packed a funeral service Thursday at Greater First Baptist Church on 13th Street NW to celebrate Allen's life and the national narrative he embodied. [2 WASHINGTON (AP) — Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served presidents from Harry Truman through Ronald Reagan, died Wednesday in Takoma Park, Md. Eugene Allen (July 14, 1919 – March 31, 2010) was an American waiter and butler. Friday April 2, 2010. [6] He retired in 1986. [3] Danny Strong's screenplay was inspired by the 2008 Washington Post article. Allen watched as President Dwight Eisenhower argued with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus over the Little Rock School desegregation in 1957.5 Allen noted that when President John F. Kennedy hosted events at the White House, more African American guests attended than ever before.6 When Kennedy was assassinated, Allen stayed behind at the White House to assist in serving those that would be returning to the building after the funeral service.7 Allen stood by President Lyndon B. Johnson as he evaluated how to handle the Vietnam War, helping him to sleep by serving the president milk and Scotch.8 Realizing the professionalism of working at the White House, Allen never uttered a word about the war, even with his son fighting overseas. Allen’s story came to public attention when an article about him and his wife by journalist Wil Haygood, entitled “A Butler Well Served by This Election” was published by the Washington Post after the 2008 presidential election.

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