Allen served in the White House from 1952 -1986, through 8 administrations spanning Truman to Reagan. In the movie, his personal story is used to showcase the country’s changing views of racial issues in America. Allen is not a progressive character – that side is shown through his rebellious son – but what happens to him is also reflective of the evolution of Black America.

“I found him here in Washington, D.C. He lived on a little quiet street, just him and his wife,” Haygood says. “On the eve of the 2008 election, the day before, his wife told their only son Charles that she was so happy because a writer had come by and somebody was going to write a story about her husband. She said ‘I’m so at peace,’ and then went upstairs to go to bed and died. Three days later my story came out on the front page of the Washington Post and now it’s this big, epic Hollywood movie.”

Haygood’s book “The Butler: A Witness to History” is in stores now. “The Butler” is in theaters on August 16th.


The Real Story Behind “The Butler”  was originally published on

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