Black History | Eugene Allen

Eugene AllenEugene Allen (July 14, 1919 – March 31, 2010)[1] was a waiter and butler who worked for the White House for 34 years until he retired as the head butler in 1986.

Allen’s life was the inspiration for the 2013 film The Butler.

Allen was born in Scottsville, Virginia. He worked as a waiter for many years, in “whites-only resorts and country clubs”, including Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, and a club in Washington.[3]

He started in the White House in 1952 as a “pantry man”, a job which involved basic tasks such as dish washing, stocking and cleaning silverware. Over the years Allen rose in his position, becoming the butler to the president.

Allen was particularly affected by the death of President Kennedy in 1963. According to his son, “My father came home late on the day that President Kennedy had been shot. But then he got up and put his coat back on. He said, ‘I’ve got to go back to work.’ But in the hallway, Allen fell against the wall and started crying. That was the first time in my life I had ever seen my father cry.”[4] 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.”

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Black History, History, Honor, Open Thread, Tribute and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Black History | Eugene Allen

  1. rikyrah says:

    I love the story about Mr. Allen because he is just one of many Black people who made the best of the opportunities given to them. Everyday, Mr. Allen quietly shattered the false stereotypes about lazy Black people, because we all know if there’s something Black people know how to do, it’s work, because it’s all we’ve done since coming to these shores in the hulls of those ships. Mr. Allen seems like a quiet man of strong dignity, and I’m glad he put his footprint on this country.

Leave a Reply