The long time Capitol shoe shine man, who beautified the wingtips and high heels of the most powerful men and women in California, was laid off on Thursday due to budgetary cutbacks.
Eddie Wright, whose business card reads “Shoe Beautician,” is part of a long tradition of shoe shiners dating back 100 years at the Capitol in Sacramento. He started shining in 1992 as a private businessman with permission of the Governor’s Offices and the Department of General services. About a decade ago Senate Pro-Tem John Burton transformed Wright’s job into a paid Senate staff position.
Shining shoes at the Capitol wasn’t the first time Wright explored the Capitol, according to the Capitol Morning Report. Back in 1967 he traveled from Oakland to Sacramento with his friends Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver, two prominent Black Panther ’60’s radicals. While Wright toured Capitol Park, Seale and Cleaver stormed onto the Assembly floor in a dramatic fashion, carrying unloaded shotguns, and protested a new gun law being considered.
Wright’s customers include, Boxer Muhammad Ali and actress Jane Seymour. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a regular customer.