Eugene Allen was butler to eight White House terms, serving more than thirty years he never missed a day of work. He is important not only for the lives he witnessed, his commitment to his post, and his quiet but endearing friendship with the most powerful men in the free world, but because his climb from "pantry boy" to guest at a Regan state dinner paralleled racial American history. It was 2008, some forty years on from the day he began his journey, before the Washington Post looked back over the breadth of his career and helped the world to understand the White House's lingering tenuousness with racial equality within the offices, halls, and kitchens of the building itself.
Eugene Allen was accompanied by Marine Guard to attend the inauguration of the first black President, at eighty-nine years of age, he wiped away tears from his cheek. He lived to greet this era, and I for one am glad for it.
Eugene Allen died on March 31, 2009. May he rest in peace.