The new film Lee Daniels’ The Butler depicts President Ronald Reagan as indifferent to the suffering of blacks as well as the country’s civil rights progress.
Breitbart News has debunked that cinematic meme, but Reagan’s commitment to racial equality began long before he even considered a life in politics.
John D. Morris, Director of Development at Eureka College’s Ronald W. Reagan Society, suspects those who malign Reagan today are fearful of his legacy and impact on the next generation of conservatives. And the facts simply don’t bear out their version of reality.
Morris describes a yearbook displayed on Eureka’s campus featuring a photograph of “Dutch” along with classmate Willie Sue Smith, a black woman Reagan would consider a dear friend.
“I have spoken with both of her children who said that Ronald Reagan and their mother corresponded for years. She had passed notes in class between Dutch and his girlfriend, Mugs Cleaver,” Morris says. “Reagan saw Willie Sue as a classmate and friend and, more than anything, another child of God.”
Another college pal, football standout William Franklin Burghardt, became one of Reagan’s lifelong chums.
Morris says one Reagan anecdote illustrates where the actor turned politician learned the value of equality. Jack Reagan, the future president’s father, one day witnessed a store clerk rudely deny a black man’s son from using the bathroom.
“The attendant next turned to Jack Reagan to ask for help. ‘Your services are no longer required by us,’ Jack replied. Taking his children outside, he told Moon and Dutch that no human beings should ever receive such treatment,” Morris says, adding the president would often share that meaningful moment with others.
Morris says it’s a shame the film industry is reluctant to tell the true nature of Reagan the man.
“Hollywood will someday see the virtues of making films based on the inspiring stories of the most consequential member of its own talent pool in history,” he says.