Skip to comments.Eugene Allen, White House butler for 8 presidents, dies at 90
Posted on 04/02/2010 12:53:08 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd
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 Takoma Park. He was 90.
Mr. Allen and his wife, Helene, were profiled in a Washington Post story in 2008 that explored the history of blacks in the White House. The couple were excited about the possibility of Barack Obama's historic election and their opportunity to vote for him. Helene, however, died on the eve of the election, and Mr. Allen went to vote alone. The couple had been married for 65 years.
Afterward, Mr. Allen, who had been living quietly in a simple house off Georgia Avenue NW in the District, experienced a fame that he had only witnessed beforehand. He received a VIP invitation to Obama's swearing-in, where a Marine guard escorted him to his seat. Eyes watering, he watched the first black man take the oath of office of the presidency.
Mr. Allen was besieged with invitations to appear on national TV shows. There were book offers and dozens of speaking requests, all of which he declined. He also received hundreds of letters, some from as far away as Switzerland, from people amazed at the arc of his life and imploring him to hold on while thanking him for his service to the nation. People in his neighborhood would stop him and explain to their children the outlines of his life.
"He liked to think of himself as just a humble butler," his only child, Charles, said Thursday. Aside from his son, Mr. Allen is survived by five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
I still say that anybody who makes this statement is racist.
Racist little article, isn’t it ?
Voting for color - as one in every 2 people seemed to do two years ago, is racist as hell. His guarded walk to the inauguration and his vote are both because of skin color.
Pay no attention to the article. A butler for 8 presidents and he is STILL not smart enough to vote based on merits.
Agreed. And why is it that whenever the media does one of those “human interest” pieces on an elderly black person, the first thing they always ask him about is how excited he must feel about the “historic” election of Barack Obama?
Tears in his eyes at being used as a political symbol? Didn’t he notice that all of those Jim Crow politicians who governed during his years under segregation were Democrats? ALL of them?
Sounds like a classy and respectful man for not selling his stories about the presidents even though he could have likely used the cash.
Who am I missing?
“Democrats? ALL of them?”
Nom not all of them as there were Southern Republicans who opposed the Civil Rights Acts.
Not sure why you think he could use the cash. I’m sure he had a nice salary, benefits, bonuses, etc.
I suppose “all” is a bit sweeping. But there weren’t a whole lot of Republican politicians in office down South until the Dems switched over to the other side.
Everyone needs cash.
There were a few Republicans in the South and they did not support civil rights.
Thats not to say he did not keep journals. Hopefully he did.
God bless his soul.
OK. Name one Southern Republican Senator that opposed the Civil Rights legislation. I will make this easy for you. There weren’t any. Period. There not even any Southern Republican political office holders at the time. From Virginia to Texas, it was all Dems all the time.
I grew up in the segregated South, and a couple of parents in our elementary school were pointed out because they VOTED Republican. Straight ticket.
I cannot remember a single Republican congressman in the Deep South from the late 1950s through the Civil Rights Act. Admittedly I don't know every politician in the South, but I'm pretty sure there were none in Georgia or Alabama. About the only thing I can think of is maybe a lone Pubbie in Atlanta or Charleston . . . maybe . . . but I doubt it and I'm sure I would have heard about it, because my parents marched at Selma.
But he was the ONLY Republican anywhere in the South in his first term. So your statement 'there were a few Republicans in the South' is inaccurate. There was one. And he wasn't from the Deep South.
Of course, Obama isn’t a person. He’s a demographic.
“There werent any. Period. There not even any Southern Republican political office holders at the time. From Virginia to Texas, it was all Dems all the time.”
Are you sure about that?
Georgia didn’t have a Republican congressman until Bo Callaway in 1966. He later ran for governor in a 3 way race and won a plurality, but not a majority, so the election went to the GA legislature, which appointed Lester Maddox (which actually didn’t turn out too badly, considering). It seems there were a few Repubs scattered around (ten out of HOW many?) but I imagine they were mostly in metro areas and border states. The Republican Party was completely non-viable in most of the south until Reagan.
"She said, 'You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself,' " he recounted in the Post interview. Mr. Allen thought he was the first butler to receive an invitation to a state dinner. He and Helene -- she was a beautiful dresser -- looked resplendent that night. The butlers on duty seemed to pay special attention to the couple as they poured champagne for guests -- champagne that Mr. Allen himself had stacked in the kitchen.
We used to have a lot of class in our White House..sigh.
Thanks, I thought it stated he started with Eisenhower.
The point is that Civil Rights and desegregation was primarily a regional issue and not a party issue as almost all Democrats and all Republicans in the South were opposed to Civil Rights and desegregation while Democrats and Republicans from other regions supported Civil Rights and desegregation.