Haygood: professor, journalist, Ohioana Book Award winner

By Kelsey Kimbler - For The Register-Herald

OXFORD – Miami University “Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence” Wil Haygood recently won an Ohioana Book Award for “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America.”

Readers may not only know him as a Miami Alum of ‘76, a Miami professor, and award winning author, but also as the former Washington Post journalist who started “The Butler” phenomena.

On Nov. 7, 2008, Haygood published the article “A Butler Well Served by this Election,” about Eugene Allen, a butler who worked in the White House during years shrouded by “harsh segregation laws” and inspired by Barack Obama’s 2008 election, as Haygood himself reported.

Allen worked throughout eight presidential administrations, becoming a “witness to history.”

If Allen was a witness, than Haygood was the scribe.

“The Butler” was adapted from Haygood’s article, starring Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, the film’s Eugene Allen, and Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines, Cecil’s wife.

On July 30, 2013, following the movie release, Haygood published “The Butler: A Witness to History.”

Before “Butler” fame, he was a correspondent at the Boston Globe – in this position he was taken hostage by Somalian rebels and was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

In total, Haywood has written seven nonfiction books. The latest recently won an Ohioana Book award, and was also awarded the 2016 Scribe Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. This award is given annually to the “best book about American law.”

“Showdown” was also an NAACP Image award nominee and an Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence nominee.

The Ohioana Library seeks to “collect, preserve, and promote the works of Ohio authors, artists and musicians. They will celebrate Haygood and other winners Friday, Sept. 23, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

By Kelsey Kimbler

For The Register-Herald