Former White house Butler Wilson Roosevelt Jerman died of a coronavirus at the age of 91. He started his career under Dwight Eisenhower, and ended up as a Maitre d ‘ for Barack Obama, having worked for 11 US presidents in total.
Jerman noticed Jackie Kennedy – the wife of the 35th President of the United States John Kennedy. Back then, he was working as a janitor, and the first lady helped promote him to Butler. “She was the one who made it happen,” his granddaughter, Jamila Gareth, told Fox 5.
Many decades later, another first lady of the United States — Michelle Obama-published a photo of him in her memoir book Becoming.
In response to reports of Jerman’s death, Michelle Obama said that “she was lucky to know him.” “With his kindness and attention, Wilson Jerman has helped first families, including our family, feel at home in the White House for many decades,” NBC quoted her as saying.
A sense of victory
“His desire to help others, his desire to do everything possible and impossible for the country that he loved and for the people in whose lives he was present, adequately represented the spirit of his generation,” Obama said.
Another first lady — and former US Secretary of state — Hillary Clinton expressed her condolences to his family on Twitter.
Bill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Wilson Roosevelt Jerman at the age of 91 from COVID-19. Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours. Our warmest condolences to his loved ones.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 21, 2020
Jerman remains an essential figure for experts who study the history of African-Americans and their role in the political life of the country. Like many of his generation, he held with dignity one of the few positions available to him at the time, says Corita Mitchell of Ohio University, author of “from slave huts to the White House.”
Racial segregation in the many American States lasted until the mid-1960s, and racial discrimination was finally banned only in 1968.
According to Mitchell, Wilson Jerman was probably pleased that his career ended under this US leader. He worked for Obama — “a decent President and also an African-American, “she says, adding:” I think he took it as a victory.”