Valparaiso University history faculty recently took a group of students to go see a new film, The Butler. Here is what senior history major Matt Hartz, pictured to the left, had to say about the film:
“The Butler is a fantastic movie for all audiences as it encapsulates human emotions and tells the phenomenal story of Cecil Gaines, a black man who grew up in the segregated south in the 1920s, became a White House butler, and ultimately saw Barack Obama become elected President of the United States. The great thing about this film is that it gives the audience an idea of what it was like for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. It really hammered home the generational split between those of the older generation and the ‘white man’s world’ and those of the younger generation who fought for equality. By doing so, the story of the movement is given a perspective that many people overlook—the fear and hope of those who were not active in the movement.
“It really brought to life the triumphs and tragedies of the movement with the reminder that this is very recent history. The film did a great job of including the presidents’ perspectives on the events during their respective terms. The overall story is the constant upward movement by African Americans, and although it left out some important factors after the movement such as the war on drugs and socioeconomic inequality, it did a wonderful job summarizing their climb in social standing. The Butler has something for all audiences and drives home the idea that the human spirit can bring about incredible changes to society even when it seems impossible.”