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A White House butler’s story

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 10, 2008

For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land. He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen. At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn’t care; she just beamed with pride. President Truman called him Gene. President Ford liked to talk golf with him. He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week. “I never missed a day of work,” Allen says. His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen.

Eugene Allen — 89 years old, African American, and a White House butler for 34 years — lived to see a black man voted in as President of the United States. But… (thx, whit)

Update: Here’s an accompanying slideshow.