Page 1 2 USER REVIEWS
[Kennedy and Jackie are watching news on TV regarding mistreatment of Freedom Riders, not only by citizens, but by the authorities as well; Cecil puts piece of paper with a pen on the coffee table in front of Kennedy]
Cecil Gaines: Here you are, Mr. President. I’ll wait for your signature.
[in anger as he watches how the Freedom Riders are being mistreated as they are getting arrested]
John F. Kennedy: I don’t know what country I’m looking at!
[as the news continues on the TV we then see that Louis and Carol are in fact in the middle of the chaos as the police are attacking them]
[at the Gaines house, Gloria is sat on the couch with Howard watching the news on TV about the Freedom Riders]
Howard: Hey, Louis man, that little nigger might be onto somethin’.
[Howard strokes Gloria’s arm with one finger intimately]
Gloria Gaines: Stop calling him a nigger, cause he ain’t no nigger.
Howard: What’s wrong, baby?
Gloria Gaines: What’s wrong with me, is…is this.
Howard: What are you talkin’ about?
Gloria Gaines: This is what’s wrong with me. And you know what?
Howard: You used to like wrong.
Gloria Gaines: This is wrong. This is wrong.
Howard: It ain’t been wrong yet.
Gloria Gaines: I can’t do this to Cecil.
Howard: We ain’t doin’ it to Cecil. I’m doin’ it to you.
Gloria Gaines: I want you out of my house.
Howard: Why do you think God brought us next to each other?
Gloria Gaines: God ain’t got nothin’ to do with this.
Howard: He put you right next door to me. You always talkin’ about how lonely you are without Cecil being at the White House and you need a man that can appreciate the love and the woman that you are like I do.
Gloria Gaines: I want your number runnin’ ass up out of my house, off of my sofa, right now.
[Howard leans in to kiss her but Gloria pushes him away]
Gloria Gaines: I’m…I’m through! I told you.
Howard: Let me make a demonstration for you.
Gloria Gaines: Don’t come here with this bullshit crazy talk.
Howard: It’s not.
[Howard laughs and takes two clothes hangers]
Howard: This is you, right? You got your direction that you’re movin’.
[he starts spinning on of the hangers]
Gloria Gaines: What you doin’ with my hangers?
Howard: This is you, and this is me.
[he starts spinning the other hanger in the opposite direction]
Howard: Now, we seem like we don’t fit at all, we’re just crash into each other. But when you line things properly, like God puttin’ you next door to me, everything kind of works out…even if you slow down. I get you.
Gloria Gaines: You need to get your little ass up out of my house.
Howard: We need each other.
Gloria Gaines: What I need is my husband, and not to be layin’ up here in the gutter with you.
[Kennedy is lying on the floor of his bedroom when Cecil walks in with a tray]
John F. Kennedy: On average, how many pills do you think I a day, Cecil?
Cecil Gaines: About hundred and three, sir.
John F. Kennedy: Help me up.
Cecil Gaines: Mr. President.
[Cecil gives Kennedy a hand and helps him rise up off the floor]
John F. Kennedy: I know your son is a Freedom Rider. He’s in prison right now in Birmingham with Martin Luther King.
Cecil Gaines: You uh…you know how he is, sir?
John F. Kennedy: I’m guessing he’s pretty beat up. But based on his record, you must be used to it.
[Kennedy takes a seat on the couch]
John F. Kennedy: Cecil, he’s been arrested sixteen times over the past two years.
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Cecil turns to give Kennedy his glass of water and pill]
Cecil Gaines: Will that be all, sir?
John F. Kennedy: Yeah, that’s it.
[Cecil turns and starts walking towards the door]
John F. Kennedy: You know, I never understood what you all really went through…until I saw that.
John F. Kennedy: My brother says he’s kids have uh…changed his heart.
[Cecil turns to look at Kennedy]
John F. Kennedy: They’ve changed mine too.
[we see Kennedy on TV giving his speech on Civil Rights]
John F. Kennedy: The fires of discord are burning in every city, North and South. Where legal remedies are not at hand, redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades and protests. I am, therefore, asking the Congress to enact legislation giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public; hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments. This seems to me to be an elementary right. Its denial is an arbitrary indignity that no American in 1963 should have to endure, but many do. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly…
[news footage of Kennedy being assassinated are then shown]
[after Kennedy is assassinated Cecil is sat on the floor of the staff changing room at the White house crying when Carter enters]
Carter Wilson: Hey. Hey, Cecil. Cecil, what’s wrong?
[Cecil doesn’t reply and looks dazed]
Carter Wilson: Cecil. Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: They blew his…head off.
Carter Wilson: Who are you talking about?
Cecil Gaines: Kennedy.
[Carter drops the tray in his hand and runs out of the changing room, Cecil continues crying; later we see Jackie sat in the White House still wearing her blood-soaked clothes]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] They killed him. They killed him.
[as Jackie is sat crying, Cecil enters the room]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Mrs. Kennedy refused to change her clothes so that everybody could see what they did to her husband. The last time I saw that much blood was the day my Daddy was killed.
[Cecil silently picks up some items on the floor that are in front of Jackie, he then watches her as she continues to cry]
Cecil Gaines: Please tell me how I could help you.
[Jackie rises and walks out of the room]
[at the Gaines house, Gloria decides to get rid of everything in Louis’ bedroom when Charlie enters the room]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Ma, what you doin’?
Gloria Gaines: Here, why don’t you take this box and put it in the basement? Make sure you label it ‘trophies’.
[she hands the box full of trophies to Charlie]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): This is Louis’ stuff, Ma. You know he gonna be pissed.
Gloria Gaines: I don’t care nothin’ about Louis getting pissed. I’m the one pissed, he ain’t been here in three years.
[Gloria walks out of the room carrying a box full of Louis’ things]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Why you pissed, Mama?
[Cecil returns home from work and finds Gloria getting rid of Louis’ things, he holds up a necktie]
Cecil Gaines: It belonged to the President. Mrs. Kennedy gave me. It belonged to the President.
[Gloria just looks at Cecil]
Cecil Gaines: Gloria, the President was killed.
Gloria Gaines: I’m really sorry about the President, I really am. But you and that White House can kiss my ass. I don’t care what goes on in that house, I don’t care what goes on in this house.
[she walks out of the room, Cecil walks over the bed and sit down placing Kennedy’s tie on the bed, just then he sees Gloria enter the room and walk over to him, he rises, goes over to her and they start kissing and then later we see them in bed laughing and talking]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I knew that Gloria had been unhappy for some time now. I knew that’s probably why she drank. She wanted me to get along better with Louis, I didn’t know how. I couldn’t. I could cut back them long hours at the White House. And I did just that.
[later as they lie in bed together]
Gloria Gaines: How many pairs of shoes she got?
Cecil Gaines: She got about a hundred and twenty-five.
Gloria Gaines: A hundred and twenty-five pairs of shoes.
Cecil Gaines: Yeah. She got them lined from the blacks all the way to the whites.
[1964 – The Johnson Administration; Lyndon B. Johnson is in his room getting ready with Cecil in the room]
Lyndon B. Johnson: And I’ll tell you what, next time there’s a light on in an empty room I’ll fire every sorry son of a bitch in this house. I mean it, Cecil! I’ll go back to Texas and run the country from a dirty shack if I have to, is that what you want? Who do you think pays the Goddamn bills around here? I don’t, but you know what I mean.
[Cecil starts turning out the lights as Johnson starts walking out the room]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Johnson turns back to Cecil]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Here. I almost forgot.
[he holds out a silver pin]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Lady Bird and I want you to have this.
[Cecil takes the pin]
Lyndon B. Johnson: I gave you a rise.
Cecil Gaines: Thank you, sir.
[one evening, Cecil and Gloria are over at James’ house with Carter, Gloria and James’ wife, Helen are dancing with James and Cecil watching them as they play cards; James calls out to Carter]
James Holloway: Negro! Get down here! Back there stinking up my bathroom.
[Carter enters wearing a wig and dancing like James Brown]
James Holloway: What you doin’?
[he finishes doing his James Brown dance as the other watch and laugh]
Helen Holloway: Give me my wig!
[Helen grabs off the wig on Carter’s head]
Helen Holloway: What’s wrong with you?! That’s my good wig!
[Carter goes over and joins Cecil and James at the table playing cards]
Cecil Gaines: We got the spades up.
[Helen and Gloria talk in the living room as James, Cecil and Carter play cards at the dining table]
Helen Holloway: James told me that Dr. King told the President that we would be going to the streets down South for our right to vote.
Helen Holloway: Didn’t you, baby?
James Holloway: What?
Helen Holloway: Didn’t you tell me that Dr. King told the President that we was going down South for our right to vote? Now, I ain’t make that up.
Cecil Gaines: Is that what you heard?
Helen Holloway: That Dr. King ain’t no joke. His little militant ass.
James Holloway: She talkin’ too damn much.
Cecil Gaines: I know somebody’s talkin’.
[suddenly the Holloway’s parrot squeaks out loud]
James Holloway: Shut up.
[James throws something at the bird]
Helen Holloway: Leave my bird alone.
Gloria Gaines: Well, you know them three kids got killed down there tryin’ to get colored folks register to vote.
Cecil Gaines: That’s why I didn’t want Louis to go down there, that’s what I was tryin’ to tell you.
James Holloway: Well, you shouldn’t have sent him down there.
Cecil Gaines: I know.
Gloria Gaines: Well, he is down there now, and there ain’t nothin’ we can do about it.
Helen Holloway: The only reason the President sent the FBI, cause two of them were white.
James Holloway: Now, who told you that?
Cecil Gaines: Yeah, who told her that?
James Holloway: Where did you hear that? I didn’t tell you that.
Helen Holloway: It was in one of them colored newspapers from Baltimore. Is that alright with you?
James Holloway: See, she gettin’ smart now.
Gloria Gaines: Honey, you think the President ought to do somethin’ about the Voting Rights Bill?
Cecil Gaines: President Johnson passed the greatest piece of Civil Rights legislation since Lincoln freed the slaves. It’s goin’ to be very difficult to pass another bill anytime soon.
Carter Wilson: That’s it.
Cecil Gaines: You see how my wife quizzes me?
James Holloway: I get it every day.
Cecil Gaines: Only you gotta know how much to say when you cross the line.
James Holloway: You deal with your woman, I’ll deal with mine.
Gloria Gaines: At least you tell your wife what’s goin’ on over there.
Carter Wilson: Aces!
[Carter places his cards on the table]
James Holloway: Damn!
Carter Wilson: You can’t be a king in your own castle, you hit the strip joint. That’s what I say.
James Holloway: Hey, uh…did you hear about your neighbor, Howard?
[there’s a moment’s silence and then parrot squeaks again]
James Holloway: The guy down on 8th Street, caught him in bed with his wife. Shot him dead, shot him in the back.
Carter Wilson: That’s it. That’s all of it.
Cecil Gaines: I don’t know, maybe…maybe he got what he deserved.
[as Johnson is sitting on the toilet, Cecil and three of his administrative staff wait outside the door listening to his instructions]
Lyndon B. Johnson: You sorry sap asses gotta realize the Negro ain’t gonna take it no more. Some tired countries have tinderboxes. Goddamn tinderboxin’, nigger rage just waitin’ to explode. Now, I want you all to get on the phone and call N-double A-C and call whoever else will listen to your sorry asses and help me keep them niggers off the street!
[two of his staff leave to do as instructed]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Buck, I smell your ass from here! What the hell are you waitin’ for?!
[Buck walks off leaving only Cecil waiting outside the bathroom door, Johnson then gives a constipated strain]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Jesus Christ! Cecil, give me some of that Goddamn prune juice.
[Cecil picks up the glass of prune juice and takes a step inside the bathroom to discreetly hand it to Johnson]
[1965 – Malcolm X Speaking Tour; after having attended one of Malcolm X’s talks]
Louis Gaines: I’m not sure what to make of Malcolm X.
Carol Hammie: I know what to make of him. He got a better plan in place than Dr. King.
Louis Gaines: If someone puts their hands on you, put them in the cemetery. Is that a better plan?
[two of Louis and Carol’s friends are walking with them]
Clara May: We’ve got to go.
Carol Hammie: Alright. Bye Clara May.
Clara May: Good night.
Louis Gaines: Good night.
[Clara May and her boyfriend walk away; to Carol]
Louis Gaines: I mean…
[Louis shrugs his shoulder as they continue to walk]
Carol Hammie: You’re just mad because he was talkin’ about your Daddy.
Louis Gaines: What?
Carol Hammie: When he was sayin’ all that stuff about house Negroes, I saw you get mad.
Louis Gaines: My Daddy is not a house Negro.
[there’s a moment’s silence as they walk]
Carol Hammie: He’s a butler, ain’t he?
Louis Gaines: Don’t talk about my Dad. I don’t talk about your Dad, alright?
Carol Hammie: That’s cause my Daddy’s proud of what I’m doin’.
[suddenly they hear a shooting noise in the distance and they make a run for it and hide in an ally, Louis looks out in the street and sees no one following them]
Louis Gaines: Alright?
[Carol nods her head, Carol and Louis look at each other for a moment before they kiss]
[Carter and James are at church, Carter looks behind him to see Gloria entering without Cecil]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Everybody went to church to raise money for the kids down in the South, but I didn’t go. I wouldn’t give no money for my son to be killed.
[old news footage of African Americans in the South being gathered and beaten are shown]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Once again them kids got beaten. This one was so bad that the press called it ‘Bloody Sunday’.
[Johnson sits on his bed in his room watching the TV showing news footage of the beatings when Cecil enters the room]
Lyndon B. Johnson: How are your boys, Cecil?
[Cecil hesitates before answering]
Cecil Gaines: I don’t know how my oldest is, Mr. President. I believe he might be in the South, and you know sometime I feel like we’re livin’ in two different worlds. I just want to keep him safe.
[Carter, James and Lorraine watch Johnson on TV giving his speech on Voting Rights Acts]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes…
Carter Wilson: Negroes? Since when did he start calling us Negroes? That nigger uses the word nigger more than I use it.
[Lorraine laughs as they continue to watch Johnson’s speech]
Lyndon B. Johnson: …but really it’s all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.
[1968 – Memphis, Tennessee; Martin Luther King and some of the Freedom Riders, including Louis and Carol are at Hotel watching the TV showing news of the Vietnam War breaking out and the protesters of people against it]
Freedom Rider: Dr. King, you might want to lie down.
Martin Luther King Jr.: President Johnson is making a tragic error in Vietnam.
[he walks over to one of the beds in the room; to one of the Freedom riders sitting on the bed]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Move over.
Louis Gaines: Why shouldn’t we fight in Vietnam?
Martin Luther King Jr.: The Viet Cong don’t call us niggers for one.
[he takes his shoes off]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Seriously, how many of your parents support the war?
[two of the Freedom Rider along with Louis raise their hand]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well, my Lord.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well why do your parents support it?
Louis Gaines: We haven’t spoken about it specifically, I just know they do.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well, what do your Daddy do?
Louis Gaines: He’s a butler.
Martin Luther King Jr.: The black domestic play an important role in our history.
Louis Gaines: I didn’t tell you that to make fun of me.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Young brother, the black domestic defy racial stereotype about being hard working and trustworthy.
[we see as Cecil and James serving Johnson and his wife dinner at the White House]
Martin Luther King Jr.: It slowly tares down racial hatred because it’s an example of a strong work ethic and dignified character. Now while we perceive the butler to be mainly subservient, in many ways they are subversive, without even knowing it.
[Cecil opens the door to R.D. Warner’s office]
R.D. Warner: Come in, Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: How do you do, Mr. Warner?
[Cecil enters and shuts the door]
Cecil Gaines: Thank you for seeing me.
[Cecil walks over and stands in front of Warner’s desk, he hesitates a moment before speaking]
Cecil Gaines: Since the colored…the black staff does just as much work as the white staff, I believe that our salaries should reflect our service, sir.
R.D. Warner: Black staff?
[Cecil nods his head]
Cecil Gaines: I also feel that we should have opportunities of advancement. No black houseman has ever been promoted to the engineers office.
R.D. Warner: You’re very well liked here, Cecil. But if you’re unhappy with your salary or position then I suggest you seek employment elsewhere.
Cecil Gaines: With all due resp…
R.D. Warner: Don’t let that Martin Luther King shift all your breaches out. Just remember where I found you.
[Cecil hesitates, looking unsure]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Warner ignores him and looks at the magazine on his desk]
Cecil Gaines: Excuse me.
[Cecil turns, walks over to the door and opens it]
[we see Martin Luther King standing on the balcony of his hotel room, then we hear Walter Cronkite report on King’s assassination]
Walter Cronkite: Dr. Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee. Police have issued an all-points bulletin for a well dressed young white man seen running from the scene…
[Cecil listens to the report on the radio as he drives home that evening, he then gets stuck as a riot breaks out on the road and he starts walking home]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I didn’t know if I was gonna get home alive. It was the first time I felt like I didn’t belong in my own neighborhood. The whole world was changing and I didn’t know how to fit in.
[we see Louis and Carol watching Jesse Jackson talking about King’s death to the media, Louis cries as he watches]
Jesse Jackson: The white people’s best friend is dead. The black people’s leader, our Moses, the once in a four hundred or five hundred year leader has been taken from us by hatred and bitterness. Even as I stand at this hour, I…I cannot even allow hate to enter my heart at this time, for it was sickness, not meanness, that killed him.
[one day as Gloria is sewing in Louis’ old room, she hears Louis]
Louis Gaines: Mom, my room’s pink.
[she looks up and sees Louis standing in the room wearing a leather jacket and a beret; later that night Louis and Carol are having dinner with Gloria and Cecil]
Gloria Gaines: Make sure you get some more of my sweet potatoes, Carol.
Carol Hammie: Hm.
Gloria Gaines: I use orange juice when I make ’em, that’s what makes ’em tart. How long y’all been datin’?
Carol Hammie: We’re just friends.
Louis Gaines: Five years.
[Louis and Carol look at each other and there’s an awkward silence]
Gloria Gaines: Is um…all the rest of the students, are they gettin’ involved in politics too?
Louis Gaines: There’s been a division, kind of a split, Mom. A few of them, like John Lewis, they’re still…
Gloria Gaines: Oh, I love John Lewis.
Cecil Gaines: How do you know who John Lewis is?
Gloria Gaines: Cause, honey, I read Jet magazine. I’m not just sittin’ up there sewing for you all day.
Carol Hammie: You know, I’m sick and tired of getting thrown in jail.
Cecil Gaines: Yeah, well, that makes two of us, don’t it?
Louis Gaines: Dr. King’s philosophy ultimately got him murdered. It worked when we started, but now it’s time to take the next step, which is politics.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Well, so y’all goin’ to the White House now? Dad, Louis is goin’ to the White House.
[to Louis, referring to his see through shirt]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): You know they ain’t gonna let you in with them nipples out.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Maybe one, but not both of ’em.
Louis Gaines: Shut up. No, we’re…we’re more grassroots, one on one with the community. Although we have started our own political party.
[looking at Carol]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): What’s your party? Do you like to party? I like to party. What’s your party called?
Carol Hammie: The Black Panther Party.
Cecil Gaines: What kind of name is that? What does that stand for?
Carol Hammie: We provide free breakfast for children, free medical clinics, free clothin’, self defense classes.
Gloria Gaines: Why y’all need self defense?
Louis Gaines: We ain’t gettin’ beaten no more.
Gloria Gaines: Me and your Daddy saw a wonderful movie the other night, it reminded me so much of you.
Louis Gaines: Oh, yeah?
[Gloria nods; to Cecil]
Gloria Gaines: What was the name of that movie, honey?
Cecil Gaines: In the Heat of the Night.
Gloria Gaines: In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier. Lord, Sidney Poitier, I love Sidney Poitier…
Louis Gaines: Sidney Poitier is a white man’s fantasy of what he wants us to be.
Cecil Gaines: But his movies have him fight for equal rights.
Louis Gaines: Only in a way that’s acceptable to the white status quo.
Cecil Gaines: Oh.
Louis Gaines: And the brother can’t act.
Cecil Gaines: What are you talkin’ about? He just won the Academy Award. He’s breaking down barriers for all of us.
Louis Gaines: By being white, by acting white. Sidney Poitier is nothing but a rich Uncle Tom.
[Gloria looks upset at this comment]
Cecil Gaines: Look at you, you’re all puffed up. With your hat on your head, comin’ here, sayin’ whatever you want. Your girlfriend belching at the table. You don’t even feel you gotta go to school even though I gave you the money. You need to go. Yep. Louis, I need you to get out of my house.
Louis Gaines: What?
[suddenly Cecil jumps up and shouts at Louis moving to hit him]
Cecil Gaines: Get the hell out of my house!
[Gloria comes in between trying to stop Cecil hitting Louis]
Gloria Gaines: No, no, no!
Cecil Gaines: Get on out!
Gloria Gaines: No, no, no! Cecil, no!
Cecil Gaines: I can’t take this no more!
Gloria Gaines: We ain’t seen this boy! We ain’t seen this boy! Now, everybody just sit down!
Louis Gaines: I’m sorry, Mr. Butler! I didn’t mean to make fun of your hero!
[suddenly Gloria slaps Louis hard in the face knocking him against the wall]
Gloria Gaines: Everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler. Now you take that triflin’ little low class bitch and get out of this house.
[Louis looks at Gloria for a moment before walking out, Carol follows him and leaves]
[after Louis and Carol leave, Gloria, Cecil and Charlie sit back down at the dinner table]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): I like Sidney Poitier, Daddy. Guess who we had come to dinner?
Cecil Gaines: Eat your dinner, Charlie.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Carol came to dinner.
Gloria Gaines: Hush, Charlie.
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Police took Louis the next day.
[Carter and Charlie are at the police station waiting to bail out Louis; Charlie is lying down on the police bench]
Carter Wilson: Y’all are gonna make me late for work.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Oh, I’m sorry. Who else was I supposed to call to bail him out?
Carter Wilson: Don’t think I meant for all of this to happen. Sit up.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Louis said that it happened just because.
Carter Wilson: Just because.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): He said he weren’t gonna get beat no more, so he got out the car hit ’em back.
Carter Wilson: What about that little gal of his?
Charlie Gaines (15-18): They put her in the hospital.
Carter Wilson: The hospital! Charlie, this just gotta stop, man!
[he looks at his watch]
Carter Wilson: I’m late for work. You tell Louis, I’m not his Mama. I want my money back.
[just then Louis is released and walks towards Carter]
Carter Wilson: You alright?
Louis Gaines: Yeah, I’m alright. Thanks, Uncle Carter.
Carter Wilson: You can take all this Black Panther shit somewhere else. I’m not them, I want my money back. Hear me?
Louis Gaines: Yes, sir.
Carter Wilson: Every dime.
Louis Gaines: Yes, sir.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Hey, Unc, don’t tell Daddy.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): How do you avoid always sitting in prison? Do they teach you that at the Panthers? Do they teach you how to sit?
[Louis playfully hits Charlie on the head and Charlie laughs]
Louis Gaines: Has she been drinkin’ again?
Charlie Gaines (15-18): No, she’s sober. She ain’t doin’ nothing but sewin’ and feedin’ them damn fishes. Feed them more than she feed me.
Louis Gaines: You feelin’ excited about goin’ back to Howell?
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Excited about not going back.
Louis Gaines: What?
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Yeah. I’m going to Vietnam.
Louis Gaines: Charlie, don’t do this. Don’t do this. This country treats us like dogs!
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Don’t do what?
[referring to having to bailing Louis out of jail]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Don’t do this? You fight your country! I wanna fight for my country!
Louis Gaines: I won’t go to your funeral.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Good, cause I don’t want you there with all of that black…leather, latex shinnin’ and takin’ away the attention off of my pretty face and my casket.
[Louis tries to hide his smile]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): What do they call you now? Louise?
Louis Gaines: Shut up.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Louise Gaines.
Louis Gaines: Charlie, shut up.
[1969 – The Nixon Administration; Cecil enters Nixon’s office with a tray]
Richard Nixon: I want to know every Goddamn domestic policy decision right now, and I want it on the table right now.
Bob Haldeman: Okay.
John Ehrlichman: Okay. Did you get the memos we sent last week?
Bob Haldeman: John and I strongly that the time calls for…
[Nixon gets distracted by a fly buzzing around his head]
Richard Nixon: Goddamn fly. There’s a Goddamn fly in here. Jesus Christ.
Bob Haldeman: John and I both think that the time calls for a period of benign neglect.
Richard Nixon: Benign neglect?
Bob Haldeman: Yes.
Richard Nixon: I like that. I like that.
[Louis and Carol are at a Black Panther meeting being held at their headquarters]
Eldridge Huggins: You know them pigs in the media describe us as terrorists. A terrorist is one who terrorizes and frightens others. We’re the ones getting terrorized. How can we exist in…in peace when we’re scared to walk down the street to the store?
[at the same time we’re back at Nixon’s office as Cecil serves him coffee]
Richard Nixon: Alright, there’s this whole Black power movement going on, right?
John Ehrlichman: Right.
Richard Nixon: What if we um…what if Nixon promotes Black power to mean Black businesses and we find ways to support Black entrepreneur? Pass the buckle, the segregation with the courts, push Black enterprise to win the twenty percent of the circuits?
Bob Haldeman: Excellent.
John Ehrlichman: That’s excellent, sir.
[back at the Black Panther meeting]
Eldridge Huggins: You don’t know if you’re suddenly gonna cave in cause your slum lord’s too busy runnin’ around collecting rent checks or he won’t fix your roof. It’s time we take a stand against these injustices that have plagued our community! They take one of ours, we’re takin’ two of theirs…ten times!
[back in Nixon’s office as he continues his meeting with his Chief of Staff, Haldeman, and Assistant, Ehrlichman]
John Ehrlichman: We just need to make sure that Nixon Black power doesn’t equate Nixon with the Black Panthers.
Richard Nixon: Have you lost your mind, man? Did you read Hoovers last memo on that? It’s Goddamn terrifying. No, no, no. I gave him the green light to gut those sons of bitches.
[Cecil stands quietly in the corner listening in horror]
John Ehrlichman: Right, absolutely.
Bob Haldeman: Round them all up and throw them down the elevator shaft.
[back at the Black Panther meeting]
Eldridge Huggins: I don’t claim to know everything, but I promise you they will always be wary of the nigger with the gun.
[the rest of the group members laugh; back at Nixon’s office]
Cecil Gaines: Will there be anything else, Mr. President?
[Cecil starts walking out of the room, at the same time Louis decides to leave the Black Panther meeting and starts walking away]
Eldridge Huggins: How many kids we got comin’ to the breakfast tomorrow mornin’?
Black Panther Member: We got about twenty-five to thirty of them.
[Carol sees Louis leaving and leaves to follow him]
Eldridge Huggins: Twenty-five to thirty kids come here to go to school to focus on lessons, cause they don’t want us to be able to beat our kids. They don’t want us to be able protect our ourselves.
[Louis goes and sits in the room next to where the Black Panther meeting is being held, Carol enters the room and sits next to him on the couch]
Louis Gaines: What are we doing here? I thought this would amend our community service.
Carol Hammie: This is community service.
Louis Gaines: If someone kills one of ours, we kill two of theirs?
Carol Hammie: Community protection.
Louis Gaines: Are you ready to kill somebody, Carol? Cause I ain’t.
Carol Hammie: I am.
[there’s a moment’s pause]
Louis Gaines: Did you ever love me, baby?
[Carol looks away and doesn’t reply, Louis rises and leaves the building taking off his beret, then we hear old news report that a group of Black Panthers have been killed as they began to exercise violence in response to racial confrontation]
[one evening Cecil comes home to find Gloria dancing to the music playing on Soul Train on TV]
Gloria Gaines: Hi, baby.
Cecil Gaines: Hi. Happy Birthday to me, huh?
[Gloria walks over to Cecil and puts her hands on his face]
Gloria Gaines: Happy Birthday to you.
[she kisses him]
Cecil Gaines: I got the best present, right here.
Gloria Gaines: Well, you want it right here?
Cecil Gaines: Mm, alright.
Gloria Gaines: Right here?
Cecil Gaines: Are the kids down?
Gloria Gaines: Ain’t no kids in the house no more.
[they both laugh]
Gloria Gaines: I made you a Birthday cake.
Cecil Gaines: I got all the cake I want, right here.
Gloria Gaines: Oh, you’re crazy. I’ve got some champagne cooling in the ice box, and some ice cream too. Get some ice cream.
Cecil Gaines: You gonna be drinking with me?
[Gloria looks at him for a moment]
Gloria Gaines: You know I don’t drink. I don’t drink.
Cecil Gaines: I’m just playin’ with you.
[he smiles at her]
Cecil Gaines: I just wanna see you move a little bit. Go ahead.
[Gloria does a small dance movement]
Cecil Gaines: Oh, my God!
[they both laugh, Cecil then goes into the kitchen]
[Cecil returns from the kitchen with some champagne]
Cecil Gaines: Did we get any mail from Charlie?
[Gloria looks upset for a moment]
Gloria Gaines: No.
Cecil Gaines: Cecil Gaines: No?
Gloria Gaines: I haven’t heard from Charlie. I know, I got an idea. I think we should go to Chante’s tonight.
Cecil Gaines: Oh, no. No, I’m too old for the disco.
Gloria Gaines: We’re not old! Come on. We ain’t old.
[she grabs his hand pulls him off the couch]
Cecil Gaines: I don’t feel like goin’ to no disco.
[Gloria places her arms around Cecil and the dance a little]
Gloria Gaines: My boys are gone, it’s just you and me. You and me, we are free. Oh, I forgot. I got you something. I forgot.
[she walks over to wrapped up box on the table]
Gloria Gaines: Now, look at us.
[she grabs the box and turns to Cecil]
Gloria Gaines: A little Happy Birthday present. I want you to go put it on upstairs.
[she gives the box to Cecil]
Cecil Gaines: I put it on?
Gloria Gaines: Yeah, go put it on.
Cecil Gaines: Alright.
[Cecil starts walking over to the stairs]
Gloria Gaines: Make it snappy. And bring down my sewing kit, cause I need it to do some alterations.
[Cecil starts walking upstairs, Gloria then lights the candle on the Birthday cake]
Gloria Gaines: Make it snappy!
[as Gloria waits for Cecil to change into his present the telephone rings, she picks up the phone]
Gloria Gaines: Hello?
[she listens for a moment]
Gloria Gaines: Hi. Where are you?
[she listens again]
Gloria Gaines: Where?
[after hearing the reply]
Gloria Gaines: You should call me back because this is not a good time. He’s…he’s…
[at that moment Cecil starts walking down the stairs wearing the outfit Gloria has made him]
Cecil Gaines: It fits. Girl, you’re good, aren’t you?
[Gloria carries on talking on the phone]
Gloria Gaines: He’s home. You alright?
[Cecil sees Gloria talking on the phone]
Cecil Gaines: Hey?
Gloria Gaines: Um…call me back. Okay?
Cecil Gaines: Is that Louis? He askin’ for some money?
[Cecil takes the phone from Gloria’s hand]
Cecil Gaines: Hey, Louis? I didn’t expect to hear from you on my Birthday. You should go to Shady’s, son. You’re a grown ass man, callin’ your Mama askin’ for money. And guess what? It’s the butler’s money, it’s Uncle Tom’s money and he ain’t givin’ none out today.
[he hesitates for a moment]
Cecil Gaines: Bye.
[Cecil hangs up the phone]
[after Cecil hangs the phone up on Louis, the door bells rings]
Cecil Gaines: I’ll get that.
[Cecil opens the door and sees two soldiers, he looks at them for a moment realizing what their presence means, Charlie has been killed in Vietnam]
Cecil Gaines: You got the wrong house. It’s the wrong house.
[Cecil closes the door; later Cecil and Gloria sit quietly in the house and Gloria begins to cry, then at Charlie’s funeral, Cecil and Gloria are joined by their friends but no Louis]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Vietnam took my boy and I didn’t understand why we were there in the first place.
[1974 – Nixon’s second term, amidst the Watergate scandal; Cecil enters Nixon’s room with a tray of drink for Nixon he sits on the couch looking drunk]
Richard Nixon: Your father still alive, Cecil?
Cecil Gaines: No, sir. My father died when I was a child.
[Cecil picks up some clothes from the floor and folds them away]
Cecil Gaines: Is there anything else that you would like, Mr. President?
Richard Nixon: Come, sit. Sit down.
[Cecil hesitates and Nixon motions for him to sit, Cecil thinks for a moment before taking the seat opposite Nixon]
Richard Nixon: There’s been a lot of talk of me resigning and…things of that nature, but I just want you to know it’s never gonna happen. I’m gonna come out of this thing stronger than ever.
[Cecil looks at Nixon for a moment before replying]
Cecil Gaines: Is there anything else that you would like, Mr. President?
[after leaving Nixon’s room, Cecil runs into James in the hallway]
James Holloway: Louis is here looking for you.
[Cecil starts walking to the kitchen; in the kitchen Louis is sat with Carter]
Carter Wilson: You got everybody all worried.
Louis Gaines: Well, I finished school.
Carter Wilson: Mm.
Louis Gaines: I got my masters in Political Science.
Carter Wilson: Hey!
[he shakes Louis’ hand]
Carter Wilson: That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Get that education.
[Cecil enters the kitchen]
Carter Wilson: There he is. Hey, well I’m gonna let you all to it.
[Carter rises from his sit and grabs his jacket]
Cecil Gaines: Ain’t no need for that, Carter.
[Cecil ignores Louis, turns his back on him and starts putting away the items on his tray]
Louis Gaines: Hey, Dad.
Cecil Gaines: Get out of here, Louis.
Louis Gaines: Dad.
Cecil Gaines: I said, leave.
[Louis, looking upset, turns and starts walking away; to Louis]
Carter Wilson: Keep doin’ what you’re doin’.
Louis Gaines: Thank you, Uncle Carter.
[Louis leaves the kitchen]
Carter Wilson: Why did you do that? Alright, I was wrong, that boy is hurting too. You know, he’s just trying to get his act together.
Cecil Gaines: Don’t you know, Carter? Boy didn’t even go to his own brother’s funeral. He’s full of shit, is what he is. He ain’t doin’ nothin’ right.
Carter Wilson: He just got his masters! What more do you want him to do?
Cecil Gaines: Every grey hair I have is because of that boy.
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] The years started to drift by, but the pain in my heart never went away. Through it all Louis and I never spoke.
[we see the years passing with Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, getting elected as Presidents; then we see Louis, now a Congressman, being and being interviewed, Cecil and Gloria watch him at home on TV when the phone rings]
Cecil Gaines: Yeah?
[he listens for a moment]
Cecil Gaines: Oh, hey. Thanks for getting back to me.
[he listens for a moment]
Cecil Gaines: Well, what did he lose by?
[listens again for a moment]
Cecil Gaines: Really? Alright then. I appreciate it.
[he hangs up the phone and looks at Gloria]
Cecil Gaines: No, he didn’t win.
Gloria Gaines: I think you should call him. Right after Charlie passed, Louis came over and paid me a visit. He found me on the kitchen floor, I had passed out drunk. I’d gone to bathroom all over myself. He’s the one that cleaned me up, and then he told me I was the best mother anybody could ever want. I think about now, he’d wanna hear from his Daddy. I think you ought to call him.
Cecil Gaines: Mm-hmm.
[1986 – The Reagan Administration; Ronald Reagan is sat in his office]
Ronald Reagan: Cecil? Cecil?
[Cecil walks towards Reagan’s office]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, Mr. President?
Ronald Reagan: You stay there, I’m coming to you.
[he walks over to Cecil]
Ronald Reagan: I uh…have a secret mission for you.
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
Ronald Reagan: I like to send people money when they write to me about they’re financial problems, but my staff has been trying to get me to stop. Do you think you could help me to…keep this going?
Cecil Gaines: Absolutely, Mr. President.
Ronald Reagan: Well, I appreciate your help on this.
[he gives Cecil an envelope]
Ronald Reagan: And please, don’t tell Nancy.
Cecil Gaines: Of course not.
[Reagan turns to walk back into his office and Cecil walks off with the envelope]
[Cecil enters Warner’s office and closes the door]
R.D. Warner: Hello, Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: Mornin’, Mr. Warner.
[Cecil walks over towards Warner and points to the seat opposite Warner’s desk]
Cecil Gaines: May I sit down?
[Warner just looks at Cecil and Cecil remains standing]
Cecil Gaines: I’ve been here for twenty years now. For all that time the black help has been paid a smaller salary than the white help. And I just don’t think that’s right, Mr. Warner. There are black housemen who should be engineers by now, they should have been promoted years ago.
R.D. Warner: You think so.
Cecil Gaines: I’m gonna have to be paid the same as the white help, or I’m gonna have to move on.
R.D. Warner: I guess you’ll be moving on then.
[Warner then carries on looking at his paperwork]
Cecil Gaines: I told the President that you’d say that. He told me to tell you to take this up with him personally.
[there’s a moment’s pause as Warner and Cecil look at each other]
Cecil Gaines: Excuse me.
[Cecil turns and walks over to the door]
[one day as Cecil walks into the White House hallway he hears Nancy talking to one of Reagan’s staff]
Nancy Reagan: I’m not comfortable with all the foreign policy hawks surrounding money. We need more moderates on the staff and a summit with the Russians. Ronnie has to meet with them face to face if we’re ever going to thaw this ice.
[Nancy notices Cecil walking past them]
Nancy Reagan: Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: Mrs. Reagan?
[to the staff member]
Nancy Reagan: We will…we will talk to you.
[the two staff members start walking off]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, ma’am.
[Cecil walks over to Nancy]
Nancy Reagan: You’re very popular around here. Everyone says you’re the man that got the raises and promotions. I had no idea.
Cecil Gaines: I wish I could take credit for that.
Nancy Reagan: I’d like to invite you to the State Dinner next week.
Cecil Gaines: I’m gonna be there, Mrs. Reagan.
Nancy Reagan: No, not as a…not as a butler, Cecil. I’m inviting you as a guest.
[Cecil looks a bit stunned]
Cecil Gaines: But the President prefers for me to serve him personally.
Nancy Reagan: Don’t you worry about Ronnie, I’ll take care of that. So we’ll see you next week, you and your wife.
[Nancy turns and starts walking away]
Cecil Gaines: My wife?
[Nancy stops and turns to look at Cecil]
Nancy Reagan: It’s…it’s Gloria, yes?
Cecil Gaines: Yes, ma’am.
Nancy Reagan: Yes.
[Nancy turns and carries on walking down the hallway, Cecil watches her looking stunned]
[Cecil and Gloria attend the state dinner at the White House, they walk through the entrance hall of the White House together, they look around them and at the guests in awe when James walks up to them with a tray and two glasses of champagne]
James Holloway: Can I get you a glass of champagne, Mr. Gaines?
Cecil Gaines: Shut up.
[James laughs to himself, turns and walks off, they hear an announcement]
Voice of Announcer: Ladies and Gentleman, the President and First Lady of the United States.
[Reagan and Nancy appear at the foot of the steps as they military band plays, Gloria and Cecil clap along with the other guests; later as everyone is sat at dinner]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] It was different sittin’ at the table instead of servin’ it, real different.
[Cecil looks at one of the butlers serving at his table]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I could see the two faces the butlers wore to survive and I knew I’d lived my life with those same two faces.
[Cecil looks over to Gloria who has been sat at different table]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Gloria looked so happy, I didn’t feel the same way. I guess I wished we were there for real instead of for show.
[as the piano in the background stops playing]
Ronald Reagan: I think that’s bon appetit, everybody.
[at that moment Carter comes over to Cecil to pick up his plate]
Carter Wilson: You black motherfucker.
[Reagan is meeting with two senators discussing events taking place in South Africa during the apartheid, Cecil is in the room serving them]
Ronald Reagan: I wanna make myself clear on this issue. If Congress passes sanctions against South Africa, I will be forced to veto those sanctions.
Senator Kassebaum: Well, Mr. President, we feel that that would be a major mistake. The brutal oppression of South African blacks citizens makes this no longer a foreign policy issue, but a United States racial issue. We are senators for primerial party, that’s why we feel so comfortable in letting you know that South Africa is a Human Rights disaster. Black people are being beaten, tortured, gun downed in the middle of the street. Americans see all this on TV, they’re horrified by apartheid.
Ronald Reagan: I’ve made my decision.
Senator Kassebaum: Mr. President, your reputation as a world leader is at stake. United States of America needs to be on the right side of history on the race issue.
Ronald Reagan: I’ll say again, if Congress passes this bill, I will veto it. Period.
[as Cecil hears Reagan’s decision to veto Congress’ decision if they pass sanctions against South Africa, Cecil has flash back to when he was a child on the cotton farm]
Thomas Westfall: What, you’re reading now? Get up and do the dishes before I shoot you in the back.
[later that night as he lies in bed next to Gloria, who’s sleeping, Cecil gets out of bed looking restless]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Nothin’ seemed right to me after that State Dinner. I got all confused.
[Cecil gets stands and walks out of the room, he goes into Gloria’s sewing room and gets a box out, he sits and pulls out a book about the Freedom Riders called ‘Race, Reform and Rebellion’]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] They had started writin’ books about everything Louis and his friends had done.
[Cecil opens the book and finds a police mug shot of Louis in the middle of the book]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Louis was never a criminal, he was a hero fightin’ to save the soul of our country.
[we see as Cecil serves cookies on a tray to the school kids getting shown around the White House, then we see him sat shining Reagan’s shoes]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I’d always loved servin’, but it just felt different now. I didn’t know that an old man could feel so lost. That’s how I felt. That’s how I felt.
[Cecil drives himself and Gloria to the cotton farm he’d worked on as a child in Macon, Georgia]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Americans always turned a blind eye to what we’d done to our own. We look out to the world and judge. We hear about the concentration camps, well these camps went on for two hundred years, right here in America.
[Cecil stops the car and they get out, Cecil points to one of the shacks which he and his mother used to live in]
Cecil Gaines: We were there, right over there.
Gloria Gaines: My Mama would have been right proud of me. Being with a man like you, takin’ such good care of me all of these years. I love you, Cecil Gaines.
Cecil Gaines: I love you more, Gloria.
[she pats his arm and then they embrace each other lovingly]
[as Cecil is serving in Reagan’s office]
Ronald Reagan: Are you sure about this?
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir. I just want to be able to resign, that’s all.
Ronald Reagan: But you’re…you’re the best butler here. You’re like family, Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: It’s been an honor servin’ you.
Ronald Reagan: Well, I’m sure I speak for all the Presidents when I say that you’ve served your country well.
Cecil Gaines: Thank you, Mr. President.
[Cecil turns and starts walking towards the door]
Ronald Reagan: Cecil.
[Cecil stops and turns to face Reagan]
Ronald Reagan: This whole Civil Rights issue, I sometimes fear I’m on the wrong side of it, that I’m just wrong.
Cecil Gaines: Sometimes I think I’m just scared of what it really means, but I’m tryin’ not to be so scared anymore.
[outside the Embassy of South Africa, Louis is leading the protest against South African apartheid]
Louis Gaines: Twenty years ago, we marched in this country for our rights. Today, we march to free the people of South Africa!
[the crowd cheers]
Louis Gaines: Ronald Reagan has attacked or dismantled every civil rights program that has ever been put in to place. Aiding the oppression of black South Africans is absolutely consistent with his policies on race issues. Am I right?
[the crowd cheers in agreement]
Louis Gaines: Am I right?
[the crowd cheers again; at that moment Louis notices Cecil in the distance standing on the sidewalk watching them]
Louis Gaines: Hold on, hold on. Excuse me, Stevens? Where’s Stevens?
[to the crowd]
Louis Gaines: Free Mandela, y’all!
[Stevens takes over from Louis, and Louis starts walking over to Cecil]
[Louis walks up to Cecil, the two of them stare at each other for a long moment]
Louis Gaines: Hi, Dad.
Cecil Gaines: Hi, Louis.
Louis Gaines: What are you doing here?
[Cecil takes his hat off before replying]
Cecil Gaines: I came here to protest with you.
Louis Gaines: You’ll get arrested, Dad, you’ll lose your job.
Cecil Gaines: I lost you. I’m sorry.
[Louis looks at Cecil not knowing what to say]
Cecil Gaines: I’m sorry, son.
[Louis takes a step towards Cecil and Cecil embraces him]
[Louis and Cecil are sat inside a jail cell full of other protesters]
Louis Gaines: Don’t worry, Dad, we’ll be out of here in a few hours.
Cecil Gaines: Who said I was worried?
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] After goin’ to jail I thought I’d seen it all. But I never imagined I’d see a black man be a real contender for the President of the United States.
[2008 – the Gaines’ are having supporting the election of Barack Obama for president, Cecil sits next to Gloria watching their guests]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Gloria and I would walk to our polling place every night to see what we’d be votin’ for Barack Obama. We’d just stare at it, smile.
[Cecil enters the kitchen were Gloria is sat]
Cecil Gaines: You done?
Gloria Gaines: Pretty much.
Cecil Gaines: Good. Time to go.
[Cecil walks over to pick up the plate of food she’d finished]
Gloria Gaines: You’d done pretty good there. Thanks, honey.
[Gloria looks at a framed photo of Louis’ daughter]
Gloria Gaines: How come Louis’ wife named that child Shequanda?
Cecil Gaines: Now, don’t start that again.
Gloria Gaines: I ain’t startin’, I just don’t know what kind of name that is. I mean, really, Shequanda. I think she done that just to spite me.
[Cecil walks over to the counter and pours them some coffee]
Cecil Gaines: Ain’t nobody done nothin’ to spite you
Gloria Gaines: Yeah, you did. She’s ugly little old girl too, with that little pug nose. I hope she grow out of it.
Cecil Gaines: Now, you need to stop that, you know that ain’t right.
Gloria Gaines: Don’t you think she look a little like Louis around the mouth?
Cecil Gaines: I think she look just like you.
Gloria Gaines: Like me?
Cecil Gaines: Yes, so you need…you need to stop talkin’ about her.
Gloria Gaines: Let me look at her again then and feel good.
[Gloria chuckles as she looks at the photo again]
Gloria Gaines: She do look a little bit like me. She a pretty little thing.
[Cecil brings them two cups of coffee and sits next to Gloria]
Gloria Gaines: I guess I can put up with the name Shequanda.
Gloria Gaines: I don’t know where I put my Bible, you know I need my Bible.
Cecil Gaines: Mm-hmm.
Gloria Gaines: I think I left it in the bathroom.
Cecil Gaines: Why is Louis late? Boy gets elected to Congress and he ain’t been on time gettin’ us to church ever since.
[Cecil rises and starts walking away]
Gloria Gaines: I can’t believe you still fussin’…
Cecil Gaines: He’ll be late to his own funeral.
Gloria Gaines: You’re still fussin’ about, Louis.
Cecil Gaines: He said he was gonna be here at four. Go ahead, call him.
Gloria Gaines: I ain’t callin, Louis. I’m gonna get my purse.
[as Gloria stretches her hand across the table to get her purse she looks to be in pain, we hear a thump and then Cecil walks back into the kitchen with Gloria’s Bible]
Cecil Gaines: What’d you say, Isaiah?
[his head is down looking at the Bible]
Cecil Gaines: It looks like you got a mark here.
[as he walks he hits something]
Cecil Gaines: I’m gonna fall over myself. Baby, you need to move that to the side.
[Cecil sits back down at the kitchen table and notices Gloria slumped against the wall]
Cecil Gaines: Baby?
[he touches her hand]
Cecil Gaines: Honey? You sleepin’?
[he stares at Gloria for a moment, not wanting to face the fact that she’s died]
Cecil Gaines: Baby? Are you alright?
[we see Cecil sitting in the front pew of an empty church looking at Gloria’s casket placed at the front; some time later Louis is sat in Gloria’s sewing room looking through the family photo album when Cecil calls out to him]
Cecil Gaines: Louis!
[Cecil is sat in the living room watching TV showing news report of Obama being elected as President]
Cecil Gaines: Louis, come on down! Come down!
[Louis joins Cecil and they watch as Obama gives his speech]
Barack Obama: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
[tears roll down Cecil’s face as he listens to Obama and Louis puts his arm around his shoulders]
[last lines; Cecil irons his tie and gets all dressed up in his suit and tie, he places the pin Lyndon Johnson had given him years before on his tie and puts his jacket on]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Just look through their eyes, see what it is that they want, see what it is that they need. Anticipate. When they smile, to look past their eyes.
[we see Cecil as he was sat in the opening scene, waiting in the Entrance Hall of the White House, he sees the usher, an African-American man, walk up to him]
Admiral Rochon: Mr. Gaines, I’m Admiral Rochon, the Chief Usher.
[he extends his hand and Cecil takes his hand and rises]
Cecil Gaines: Nice to meet you.
Admiral Rochon: Pleasure’s all mine, sir.
[Rochon gestures for them to start walking]
Admiral Rochon: I just wanted to tell you what an honor it is to meet you, sir.
[as they walk down the hallway]
Cecil Gaines: The honor is mine.
Admiral Rochon: The President is so excited to meet with you.
Cecil Gaines: Yeah. Well, that’s just fine.
Admiral Rochon: Come on, I’ll show you the way.
[as Rochon goes to lead the way]
Cecil Gaines: I know the way.
[Rochon watches as Cecil starts walking towards Obama’s office; as we watch him walk we hear parts of the famous Presidential speeches from Kennedy, Johnson and Obama]
John F. Kennedy: The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities.
Lyndon B. Johnson: It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.
Barack Obama: We will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
[as the screen fades to black we see the quote “This film is dedicated to the brave men and women who fought for our freedom in the Civil Rights Movement”]
Total Quotes: 103
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