|Amelia "Melia" O'Neal Spradley|
She was a Maid, One who took pride in her work, caring for the white man’s home as if it was her own. Not only did she do it, her mother did it too. For generations, our mothers and their daughters were “The Help” for many White American Families.
Our fore-mothers were home managers that ran “family business” and did it with dignity and pride. Although this particular job was not a glorified one in the eyes of many, this position called for great trust, unwavering faith and enormous responsibility which I believe was the very reason why many “Black Maids” stayed on with the families they cared for for years.I was told that my Grandmother Amelia O’Neal Spradley was well respected in her work as a maid, an excellent cook, very clean and organized too. I also learned over the years that she could take anything off the “dump pile” and make it look like it came out of the store, hence her refurbishing skills of reupholstering just about everything. My grandmother also had an eye for decorating and color coordination; I guess one had to know a little bit of every back then…
|Lee Daniels' The Butler - Now Showing|
I had an opportunity to see “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” during its opening weekend and once again on this past Sunday… It is a motion picture that triggered memories of stories I was told about my Grandmother Amelia who was a Maid or “Black Domestic” as mentioned in the film...
“See what they need, want and anticipate.” These are the words from the move that still ring in my ears. This is a film that takes us on a journey through the eyes of Cecil Gains from his days of working in the cotton field with his family to his final walk to see the 44th President of the United States, Mr. “Barack Obama”.
It’s a story filled with American History, more specifically Black History, family values, love, struggle, and pain. But, the biggest elements that resonated in my heart are endurance and resiliency… Cecil’s ability to transcend hardships regardless of what he experienced is astonishing, however the message that echoes throughout history is, “we’ve served our county in many capacities”.
EVERYTHING WE ARE and EVERYTHING WE HAVE is because of those who served before us. We’ve always played an important role in America’s History regardless of our trials and triumphs… And we must continue to make history, creating that which is to come with the “SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE” in everything that we do knowing that as AFRIKAN AMERIKANS, We have ALWAYS SERVED AMERICA with Dignity, Pride and Self-Realization.