“The Butler” shown for African American History Month

BY JENNY BRONT
SC Staff Writer

The end of Feburary marks the end of African American History Month, but before it was over, Residence Life Diversity Committee added one more event on Feburary 25: A screening of “The Butler,” starring Forest Whitaker, in the Linden Hall Project Room.

Based on a true story, “The Butler” follows a young slave as he grows up to be the favorite butler at the White House.

As he works from the Eisenhower Administration to the Nixon Administration, audiences watch as important moments in history unfold.

Slavery on the cotton farms, Brown vs. Board of Education, Desegregation at Little Rock, Freedom Riders, the Klu Klux Klan’s acts of violence, Martin Luther King, Kennedy assassination, Malcolm X, Bloody Sunday, the Black Panthers, Apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and the election of the first black president, Obama, are some of the historical events covered in this movie.

While Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) tends to history’s most memorable presidents, his son Louis Gaines takes part in the heroic acts that led to equal rights.

It seems, however, that every important event leading up to equal rights occurred after Cecil spoke to each president about his family.

“The Butler” carries a number of incredible messages that made it the perfect movie to show for African American History Month.

If a US history course wasn;t enough to squeeze into the two-and-a-half hour time-span, “The Butler” shows that even a seemingly small role can make a huge difference.

It was because Cecil brought the issues to a human level with these presidents that any change even occurred.

Although Louis played a vital part in identifying the problems African Americans are fighting for, it was Cecil who brought out the humanity in the presidents.

Another lesson shown throughout the movie is that if you want something, you can’t leave it to other people; you have to fight for it yourself.

Though Cecil wanted to believe that the presidents would make everything better, in the end, he realized that the only way change would come about was if the people fought for it themselves.

With a star-filled cast including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, James Marsden, and Alex Pettyfer, the movie is a powerful portrayal of the difficult times African Americans faced to have things everyone else took for granted: clean water, quality education, the right to vote, and more.

It brings to light many issues we now tend to overlook. “The Butler” is a must-see!

Email Jenny at:

jbront@live.esu.edu

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