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 Eugene Charles Allen

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Eugene Charles Allen Famous memorial

Birth
Scottsville, Albemarle County, Virginia, USA
Death
31 Mar 2010 (aged 90)
Takoma Park, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Burial
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot
Sec 20, Lot 224, Site 1
Memorial ID
50569149 View Source

White House Butler. Allen grew up on the Shirland Farm near Scottsville, Virginia. For many years, he worked as a waiter in white-only resorts and country clubs. In 1952, he heard about a job opening in the White House kitchen. After an interview, he was hired as a pantry man, responsible for dishwashing and polishing silverware. His position had evolved from pantry worker to butler to confidant and friend to numerous presidents in power throughout the years. Allen worked for eight US presidents, beginning with Harry S. Truman and ending with Ronald Reagan, as well as their families and prominent guests. Allen noticed social changes that would transform race relations not only across the country, but also within the White House. As a butler, he frequently served the president and his guests. This made him privy to private conversations and debates regarding African American rights. He watched as President Dwight D. Eisenhower argued with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus over Little Rock school desegregation in 1957. He saw President John F. Kennedy host events where more African American guests attended than ever before. In 1963, Kennedy invited 800 blacks to the White House to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. He was working in the kitchen when Kennedy was assassinated and received a personal invitation to the funeral, but declined and stayed at the White House to serve as the family's return. Before leaving the White House, Jacqueline Kennedy gave him one of JKF's ties as a gift, which he later framed. Allen saw President Lyndon B. Johnson devote a great deal of energy and determination to civil rights legislation, including nominating Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court as the first black justice. Allen flew to Europe with President Richard Nixon and frequently visited Camp David, with President Jimmy Carter. Because Allen and President Gerald Ford shared the same birthday, he was also honored at the formal White House birthday celebrations. In 1980, Allen was promoted to maitre d'. He only missed one day of work throughout his thirty-four years at the White House, and that was when Nancy Reagan ordered him to take a day off in 1986 because she had invited him and his wife to Helmut Kohl's state dinner. He retired that same year, and President Reagan wrote him a personal note. Allen and his wife Helene had intended to vote for Obama together, but Helen died the day before the election. Allen was given the opportunity to vote and was also invited to President Barack Obama's inauguration. He was dressed in a black cashmere coat, a checkered scarf, and a Sinatra fedora that he had acquired especially for the occasion. In 2008, the Washington Post published a story on Allen's thirty-four years as a White House butler. That article inspired the movie "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and it was released in 2013.

White House Butler. Allen grew up on the Shirland Farm near Scottsville, Virginia. For many years, he worked as a waiter in white-only resorts and country clubs. In 1952, he heard about a job opening in the White House kitchen. After an interview, he was hired as a pantry man, responsible for dishwashing and polishing silverware. His position had evolved from pantry worker to butler to confidant and friend to numerous presidents in power throughout the years. Allen worked for eight US presidents, beginning with Harry S. Truman and ending with Ronald Reagan, as well as their families and prominent guests. Allen noticed social changes that would transform race relations not only across the country, but also within the White House. As a butler, he frequently served the president and his guests. This made him privy to private conversations and debates regarding African American rights. He watched as President Dwight D. Eisenhower argued with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus over Little Rock school desegregation in 1957. He saw President John F. Kennedy host events where more African American guests attended than ever before. In 1963, Kennedy invited 800 blacks to the White House to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. He was working in the kitchen when Kennedy was assassinated and received a personal invitation to the funeral, but declined and stayed at the White House to serve as the family's return. Before leaving the White House, Jacqueline Kennedy gave him one of JKF's ties as a gift, which he later framed. Allen saw President Lyndon B. Johnson devote a great deal of energy and determination to civil rights legislation, including nominating Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court as the first black justice. Allen flew to Europe with President Richard Nixon and frequently visited Camp David, with President Jimmy Carter. Because Allen and President Gerald Ford shared the same birthday, he was also honored at the formal White House birthday celebrations. In 1980, Allen was promoted to maitre d'. He only missed one day of work throughout his thirty-four years at the White House, and that was when Nancy Reagan ordered him to take a day off in 1986 because she had invited him and his wife to Helmut Kohl's state dinner. He retired that same year, and President Reagan wrote him a personal note. Allen and his wife Helene had intended to vote for Obama together, but Helen died the day before the election. Allen was given the opportunity to vote and was also invited to President Barack Obama's inauguration. He was dressed in a black cashmere coat, a checkered scarf, and a Sinatra fedora that he had acquired especially for the occasion. In 2008, the Washington Post published a story on Allen's thirty-four years as a White House butler. That article inspired the movie "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and it was released in 2013.

Bio by: Debbie Gibbons


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Jane Hatch
  • Added: 2 Apr 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 50569149
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/50569149/eugene-charles-allen: accessed ), memorial page for Eugene Charles Allen (14 Jul 1919–31 Mar 2010), Find a Grave Memorial ID 50569149, citing Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave .