The Butler: A Witness to History
This is the amazing story of how journalist and author Wil Haygood tracked down the unknown White House butler Eugene Allen, a story which led to the making of the major motion picture, The Butler. The 2013 movie features seven Academy Award winners, among them Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Redgrave, and Robin Williams. Haygood served as an associate producer of The Butler.
The story has been so influential, that actor David Oyelowo credits the film adaptation of The Butler as a film that "changed the narrative" of films starring African American leads and points-of-view in Hollywood, and paved the way for Selma, which he starred in.
Education in America: My Personal Story
Wil Haygood, a New York Times best-selling author, was born in 1954, when legal segregation was upended by the United States Supreme Court. In his writings—and the movie, The Butler, adapted from one of his stories—Haygood has woven a tapestry around some of the most significant and powerful historic moments of the 20th century. In this speech, Haygood shares how race, education and heroism have amazingly converged into his own life.
Haygood's mother and grandparents were all born in Selma, Alabama, the scene of some of the most turbulent racial clashes in the country's history during the 1960s. Haygood's mother left the South and settled in Columbus, Ohio, where Haygood attended both segregated and integrated schools. He went on to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree in 1976. However, it was in Oxford in 1963 where a group of civil rights workers had convened before going to Mississippi, and three of those workers were killed.
This startling event motivated Haygood to chronicle civil rights and minority education in several of his books, including one on Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the Chairman of the Education Committee in Congress whose committee was responsible for funding the Upward Bound Program as well as Head Start. In addition, Haygood spent five years researching a book about Thurgood Marshall, the architect of the historic Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling.
Looking back over his writing life, Haygood firmly believes education has been the key to his success and escape from poverty. This inspiring presentation takes audiences on a journey through the history of the public school system and desegregation, all from Haygood’s personal experiences and extensive research.
Little Wil Haygood: From Poverty to the Big Screen
Wil Haygood was born to a single mother in Columbus, Ohio. He became the first in his family to receive a college degree. With a honed writing talent, he became a nationally recognized journalist and biographer. His career has taken him around the world and to the backlots of Hollywood, where his work has attracted the attention of some of the leading entertainment figures of our times.
History, Race & Culture of the US
Wil Haygood has been called one of America's "canniest cultural historians." As journalist and biographer, he has explored the social and historical dynamics of this country as few modern chroniclers have done in books, magazine articles, and award-winning newspaper coverage. It is little wonder that Bostonian magazine once referred to him as a "Young Literary Lion."
My Trilogy: The Importance of Sammy, Adam & Sugar Ray
In telling the epic story of America, Wil Haygood has produced a biographical trilogy of these three mid-20th-century figures in books that garnered worldwide literary acclaim and prestigious honors: a politician, an entertainer, and a sports champion. It makes for a fascinating evening of American history.
A Writer's Stories
The figures that journalist Wil Haygood has interacted with and written about make up a scintillating Who's Who of our times: James Brown, Nelson Mandela, Andy Warhol, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, Jerry Lewis, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin, Eartha Kitt, and Frank Sinatra Jr.
The Beauty of the Presidency
In this fascinating presentation, Wil Haygood shares with audiences how American presidents have confronted the country's social issues. He draws on his many visits to presidential libraries in over his years as a biographer—and his dozens of interviews of former White House officials across many administrations—in offering insights into presidential politics.
A Writer's Travels Around the World
From the oil crisis in Nigeria to the war-torn lands of Somalia and Liberia, from the richness of obtaining a South African education, to the heroism of Esther in Zimbabwe—an AIDS-afflicted woman who cared for 10 nieces and nephews and received an outpouring of international help because of Wil Haygood's reporting—this is an evening of scintillating and inspiring stories from around the world. Haygood's journeys as a globe-trotting foreign correspondent (he was once taken hostage in Somalia by rebels) will enthrall you.