The Butler

The Butler is the name of a currently popular movie; Liddy and I went to see it yesterday, expecting, on the basis of newspaper and TV reports, to see a story about a black man serving as a White House butler, and wondering at the reports that President Obama shed some tears while watching the movie. Full disclosure here: Max had trouble controlling tears through most of the movie. Liddy and I were not prepared to see virtually all of our married life unfold in two and a half hours through a series of short sketches depicting many of the outrageous attacks on Civil Rights marchers that for us were background as we struggled to complete graduate school in the heart of Dixie from 1956 to 1962.

It’s a perfect blog-in to Max’s novel COUNT. The novel, disguised though it is, tells how Max and Liddy, in all their innocence, followed Max’s brother Jaybird’s lead and left Peoria, the heart of Illinois, to pursue higher education in the heart of Dixie at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in Auburn; it was 1956. They scoffed at the idea that a segregated society could be a dangerous place for a young married couple, especially when the wife was half Chinese.

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