Wil Haygood is an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post and author of “The Butler.”
“The Butler” was inspired by a series of articles Haygood wrote for The Washington Post from 2008-10 about Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight U.S. presidents. Haygood’s articles have inspired a star-studded major motion picture, “Lee Daniels' The Butler,” directed by Lee Daniels and starring Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave and Lenny Kravitz.
On Sept. 12, Wil Haygood launched “The Butler” at a major book-launching event, An Evening with the Creative Genius behind “The Butler,” held on the Ohio Dominican University campus. Haygood was joined by Stephen Reiss, Haygood’s former editor at The Washington Post, for an in-depth discussion on their professional experiences.
Haygood attended ODU as a high school student during the summers from 1970-72 through ODU’s Upward Bound program. Haygood says his experiences at ODU were instrumental in his personal growth laid the framework for his professional success.
"It's important for me to bring ‘The Butler’ experience to the Ohio Dominican University campus,” said Haygood. “It was at ODU where a part of my life was formed as a college prep student in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and also where a part of my writing muscle was formed. ‘The Butler’ book and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" movie cover an important part of American history - that part when black citizens were often denied the right to vote, as well as overall justice. President Obama just didn't land in the White House as this country's first black president because of shrewd political talent. This has been a long march that involved epic civil rights battles, slain martyrs, and politicians in Washington showing bravery in 1964 and 1965 by passing landmark civil rights and voting rights bills."