We Have Evolved, But Still Have A Long Way to Go: The Civil Rights Movement & Lee Daniels’ The Butler

THE BUTLER

It couldn’t have been more perfect timing, the premiering of Lee Daniel’s The Butler and the 50thAnniversary of The March on Washington. Both come at a time when it is evident that Black America is still facing racial inequality. With the outcry of the most recent injustices still plaguing Black America one can only reflect on how far we have come and how much further we still have to go.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is an “astounding” drama inspired by a true story of an African American butler – Eugene Allen who served eight presidential administrations over the span of thirty four years before retiring.

the butler1

The film stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey and takes us on a sentimental journey through the life of Cecil Gaines as he witnesses historical political issues that plagued America in the 20th Century. Gaines sees close-up the evolution of history; presidential, political and societal issues, the civil rights movement, and the effects of the Vietnam War.

As the film unfolds Daniels’ incorporates major incidents in black history that are often overshadowed, but attribute to major milestones in Black America such as; the political issue of race that each presidential administration faces, the Freedom Rider’s lunch counter sit-ins and bus rides in segregated parts of the south, the assassination of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panthers involvement of fighting racism, the Vietnam war and protests against South African apartheid.

We must not forget nor discount how the heroes and heroines deeply rooted in our history – African American History have set the tone, paved the way, and afforded us the opportunity to reach far and beyond the depths that they were able to reach. They have charged us to move onward and upward. If we sit back and do nothing we have truly failed them.

For me,  The Butler was so much more than just a drama inspired by true stories. It was more than a history lesson. It was more than tears that emerged from my eyes while watching the cruel treatment, murder, and brutal beatings of my people. It was a charge to me to do better, to get more involved, and to continue the journey and legacy that our ancestors fought so hard for.

 I Want to Hear From You:

  • Have you seen it yet? Thoughts?
  • Why do you think this movie received such rave reviews?
  • Was it what you expected?
  • Do you think you could have survived the time periods in which the film covered?

Shanti Ray, the founding editor of I Am Simply Shanti is a Legal Admin Assistant by day and a writer/poetess/blogger by night. She is woman of many talents who finds her strength and passion to write in her life’s experiences. In her down time she enjoys volunteering and mentoring young women. As she keeps herself busy being a writer, entrepreneur, and community service advocate she still finds time to work on her first novel and as a correspondent with Six Brown Chicks.

Facebook Twitter