“The Butler,” the much-awaited offering from one of the richest women in the world, provides a snapshot of the life of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen. Yet two very telling episodes involving the treatment of people of color by sitting presidents made it as far only as the cutting room floor, if that far, as reported by Breitbart.com.
The film will debut later this month, starring not only the $77 million woman, Oprah Winfrey, but accomplished actor Forest Whitaker in the title role of Allen, who served in eight different presidential administrations ranging from Harry Truman in the early 1950s to Ronald Reagan in the mid 1980s.
As Breitbart notes, the makers of the film depict several Democratic presidents as heroes in the fight for civil rights, particularly President John Kennedy. But in a 2008 interview, Allen told the Washington Post of one occasion when an African American received less-than-cordial treatment at the hands of a president. It may shock Democrats to learn that president was John F. Kennedy.
On the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963, 800 black Americans were invited to the White House to commemorate the historic event. Initially, Democratic Party operative and function organizer Louis Martin had placed the names of actor/singer Sammy Davis, Jr., and his wife, May Britt, on the guest list. A still unidentified “someone” from the White House scratched the interracial couple off the invitation, but Martin quietly re-added them without authorization.
According to Martin, Kennedy was less than pleased when he saw the black and white couple stride into the White House. His face reddened with anger as he ordered photographers not to take any pictures of the interracial couple while they were in the presidential mansion or on the grounds.
Less than a decade later, the same Sammy Davis, Jr., found himself back in the White House, but this time under more convivial circumstances. Davis was invited by Richard Nixon to spend time (including an overnight stay in the Lincoln Bedroom) at the Executive Mansion to discuss, among other things, the possibility of increasing job opportunities for blacks.
It was within that time that Nixon initiated the controversial affirmative action program as a short-term fix to a long-term problem.
Davis went on to secure a spot in history for himself as he famously hugged Nixon at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida. The Washington Post article concluded that Davis had succeeded in being “forever identified with a White House that many blacks found hostile.”
The Post failed to mention that then Senator John Kennedy voted against the Civil Rights act of 1957, whereas then Vice President Richard Nixon was a strong supporter.
As reported by the New York Times last year, Nixon had more than a few “enlightened” civil rights and environmental policies in place that most Americans are unaware of.