The Butler

Synopsis: When the phone rings, it could be your job on the line.
12 min

The only thing

I ever knew was cotton.

It was hard work.

Now, you know cotton is ready

when the bud splits,

and the boll is star-shaped,

like a big ol' star in the sky.

Or like your big ol' head.

Hold on, is that some cotton?

Is that cotton?

But I didn't mind,

'cause I got to spend all day

working with my daddy.

- Hurry, take this picture.

- Take a picture of y'all.

Why don't everybody smile?


Hattie, come on,

I need your help in the shed.

Come on.

- Pa... where he taking Ma?

- Get back to work.

Cecil, come back here, boy.


Come here.

Look at me, boy.

Don't you lose your temper

with that man.

This his world.

We just living in it.

You hear me?

Now, get on back to work.

Pa, what you gonna do?


- Dad!

Oh, my Lord.

Who you looking at?! Huh?

Who wants to go next?!

You get back to work.

Hey, you. Get some of the hands

to help dig a hole for his pa.

Hurry up!

Stop crying.

I'm gonna have you

in the house now.

I'm gonna teach you

how to be a house n*gger.

- He's coming.

- Yes'm.

And quiet when you're serving.

I don't even want

to hear you breathe.

Yes, ma'am.

The room should feel

empty when you're in it.

It was much nicer working

in the house than in the field.

Crazy n*gger, from the left.

Give me more.


When I got older, I knew

I had to go before he killed me, too.

Part of me was scared to leave.

It was the only world I ever knew.

Ma, I took Pa's watch.


Ma, I'm leaving.

My mama never

spoke much after that.

I knew she'd miss me,

but I also knew she wanted me

to leave that place.

And even though

Miss Annabeth never said it,

I knew she'd miss me, too.

I don't think God meant

for people to not have a family.

Outside the cotton fields was even worse

than I thought it would be.

No one would give me a job

nor food nor a place to sleep.

Any white man could kill

any of us at any time

and not be punished for it.

The law wasn't on our side.

The law was against us.

I was hungry all the time.

You know what can happen

to you, son?

Get up.

I said, get up.

I'm gonna have to lie

to the boss man about that window.

The good Lord say

we ain't supposed to lie.

Sorry, sir.

Where's your ma and your pa?

My ma crazy in the head,

and my pa got killed.

I'll make you

some ham sandwiches

and send you on your way.

The boss will be here

in a minute.

Sunday's our busiest morning.

You looking for some help?

I know how to serve.

You done broke our window,

you done stole our food,

and now you asking for a job?

Back in Macon,

I'm a house n*gger, a good one.

Don't you ever use that word, son.

That's the white man's word.

It's filled With hate.

Didn't your father

ever teach you any better?

- Slow down.

- Yes, sir.

You got to look through their eyes.

See what it is they want.

- Got it?

- Strokes.

- Yeah, I got it.

- Here.

See what it is they need.

Right this way.


I'm sorry. I'm sorry, ma'am.

Bring a smile to the eyes...

...of your principal.

Perfect. Perfect.

Don't forget to save me them chitlins.

- Why you like chitlins so much?

- 'Cause they're good eating.

The manager of Excelsior, in DC,

he came by yesterday.

He offered me a job as a butler.

He must be paying you

top dollar, huh, boss?


I was thinking about taking it,

but I don't know.

I'm too old to be leaving

North Carolina.

I'm just fine right here.

I told him to hire you.

I'm just now finding my way

around this hotel.

Ain't ready for all them

highfalutin white people,

all their fancy words.


and the ones that we got

to show the white folks.

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    "The Butler" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <>.

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