Butler A Witness to History

ISBN-10: 1476752990
ISBN-13: 9781476752990
Edition: 37th 2013
Authors: Wil Haygood
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Description: When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.00
Edition: 37th
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 7/30/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 112
Size: 6.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served no fewer than eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. During his thirty-four years of service, Allen became what the Independent described as a "discreet stagehand who for three decades helped keep the show running in the most important political theatre of all." While serving tea and supervising buffets, Allen was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made. Here he is at the White House while Kennedy contemplates the Cuban missile crisis; here he is again when Kennedy's widow returns from that fateful day in Dallas. Here he is when Johnson and his cabinet debate Vietnam, and here he is again when Ronald Reagan is finally forced to get tough on apartheid. Perhaps hitting closest to home was the civil rights legislation that was developed, often with passions flaring, right in front of his eyes even as his own community of neighbors, friends, and family were contending with Jim Crow America. With a foreword by the Academy Award- nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler also includes an essay, in the vein of James Baldwin's jewel The Devil Finds Work, that explores the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, and fifty-seven pictures of Eugene Allen, his family, the presidents he served, and the remarkable cast of the movie.

A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and a writer for the "Washington Post", Wil Haygood has been described as a cultural historian. He is the author of a trio of iconic biographies. His "King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., " told the story of the enigmatic New York congressman and was named a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year. That was followed--after publication of a family memoir--by "In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., " which was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor Music Biography Award, the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In 2009, he wrote "Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson", which told the story of the famed New York pugilist known as much for his prowess in the ring as his elegant style outside of it. Haygood is an associate producer of "Lee Daniels' The Butler".

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