Forrest Gump and The Butler Timeline-Sundermeier


Vietnam War

1955 - 1975

The Vietnam War stretched over a span of twenty years The most influential president during this period was President Nixon, who slowly worked to end the Vietnam War.

"Forrest Gump" shows Gump fighting in the war during 1967, as a war that no one really knew what they were fighting for.

Little Rock Nine

September 4, 1957

Little Rock,Arkansas: September 4, 1957

President Dwight Eisenhower sent troops to Central High School to protect nine African-American students at the all-white school.

"The Butler" portrays this event as the first time a white person stood up for black people.

Greensboro Sit-Ins

February 1, 1960

Greensboro, North Carolina, February 1, 1960

Students in Greensboro, North Carolina sat in the white section of a segregated lunch counter, where they were beaten, harassed, and arrested for peacefully protesting.

"The Butler" shows this event as a time where black people began to stick up for their rights and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

JFK Presidency

20 January 1961 - 22 November 1963

President John F. Kennedy was a large advocate for the Civil Rights Movement and was assassinated just barely one thousand days into his term.

"Forrest Gump" portrays JFK as a nice president who was unfortunately killed. As for "The Butler", he was portrayed as someone who made an advance towards civil rights for all.

Freedom Riders

May 14, 1961

Freedom Riders: May 14, 1961

The Freedom Riders were a group of people who rode buses across the South to protest segregated public transportation; they were inspired by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The Butler" portrays this scene with the KKK attacking the bus and ultimately blowing up the bus in Aniston, Alabama. This represents the Southern view seen upon desegregation.

Black Panther Party

1966 - 1982

The Black Panther Party was a faction of the Civil Rights Movement inspired by Malcolm X and believed in violent protests to make a change.

In "The Butler", Cecil's son joined the Black Panther Party and it was shown as a "terrorist" organization.



The counterculture was a movement that protested the Vietnam War listening to music, such as Bob Dylan.

In "Forrest Gump", Forrest speaks to protesters of the war in Washington, D.C. and Jenny ends up joining it, exposing her to drugs, among other things.


1970 - 1974

Watergate was a cover up by Richard Nixon that led to his resignation as president.

In "Forrest Gump", Forrest witnesses the break-in at the hotel and reports it.

Ping Pong Diplomacy

April 10, 1971 - June 10, 1971

The Ping Pong Diplomacy focused on the American and Chinese ping-pong teams that paved the way towards a visit to Beijing by President Nixon.

"Forrest Gump" portrayed it by making Gump a member of the ping-pong team.

Obama Presidency

2008 - 2017

President Barack Obama was the first black president of the United States.

At the end of "The Butler", Cecil walks into President Obama's office to meet him- the first black president in US history.