My grandparents aren’t crazy. It’s not that they don’t understand the era we are in now, it’s just that they came up seeing A LOT of shit that we will never see in our life.
Wil Haygood, author of New York Times best selling book The Butler, came to my school yesterday to speak about the inspiration behind his book – now turned movie. For those who are not aware, the book is a biography of the life of Cecil Gaines – butler in the White House who served eight Presidents of the United States.
I have not had the pleasure of reading the book, but I did see the movie last night and it was PHENOMENAL. Not only did it have an amazing cast, it also helped me understand why my grandparents worry about me so much.
Mr. Gaines and his oldest son, Louis never saw eye to eye on issues growing up. Mr. Gaines was serving “the man” while his son was a Freedom Rider whom was in an out of jail at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Louis walked beside Dr. Martin Luther King, had meetings with Malcolm X and became a Black Panther; he was even there on Bloody Sunday.
This is the era my grandparents were raised in. Can I blame them for being so worrisome?
Hearing Mr. Haygood speak and following that with seeing the movie for myself, has given me a realty check. I’m an African-American woman who can vote, eat where I want, drink where I want, sit where I want, and say what I want all because of people like Cecil Gaines, and his son Louis, and Dr. King, and Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers, and all of those Freedom Riders who lost their lives for us.
Ultimately, we all owe our lives to these people – that includes our grandparents who were there and stood next these people. We owe it to them to continue the fight and to use our freedoms for good.
While even Mr. Haygood admitted that the movie did change some aspects of the book, still experiencing all of this at once has also made me realize that The Dream is in reach, we’re almost there, but we (our generation) still have some work to do.
My grandparents aren’t crazy, they were just there.
I captured some great moments from Wil Haygood’s and Stephen Reiss’ (managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Businesses) question and answer with Manager of University Communications at Ohio Dominican University, Thomas Brockman. In the video, Haygood speaks on why he wrote the book, how he went about finding Cecil Gaines, and even how Cecil’s wife died just days before President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
This was an awesome event and I am glad that I got to experience it. Check out the video and let me know your thoughts:
Wil Haygood Speaks at Ohio Dominican University | September 12, 2013