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Wil Haygood, Whose Research Inspired the Acclaimed Film The Butler, Will Introduce a Special Screening at WC

Written on:November 6, 2017
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Washington College
CHESTERTOWN, MD—November 6, 2017

Wil Haygood, whose article on White House butler Eugene Allen was the basis for the acclaimed film The Butler, will introduce a special showing of the film on November 13, 2017. The screening will be held at the Norman James Theatre in Smith Hall at 6:00 p.m. The movie is free and open to the public, and there will be plenty of free popcorn.

Haygood, a journalist, author and this year’s Starr Center Patrick Henry Fellow, tracked down the unknown White House butler, Eugene Allen, for a story published in The Washington Post in 2008. The 2013 movie based on his article 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 acclaimed film captures the drama of the Civil Rights movement and its impact on the lives of black Americans through the lens of Cecil Gaines (the character based on Eugene Allen), his wife, Gloria, and their two sons. The New York Times movie review states: “The history of repression, protest and reform did not just happen on the abstract plane of activism and politics, but also in the lives of ordinary families, who were always doing more than just suffering and struggling. The genius of The Butler lies in the sly and self-assured way it connects public affairs to private experience.”

While in residence at Washington College, Haygood is at work on Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street. The book tells the epic story of America in 1968-69 through the prism of a segregated all-black high school in Columbus, Ohio. Fighting for equality and freedom, two athletic teams at the school achieved moments of grandness by winning state championships amidst the turmoil following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the spring semester, he will also teach a non-fiction writing course, entitled “Personal Memoir,” for Washington College’s English Department.

Haygood is on sabbatical from Miami University in Ohio, where he serves as Boadway Visiting Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. He has received fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Prior to joining the Miami faculty, he was a correspondent at the Boston Globe and a reporter at the Washington Post.

The movie screening is sponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Black Student Union, the Black Studies Program, the Departments of English and History, the Communications and Media Studies Program, the Office of Intercultural Affairs, and the Intercultural Ambassadors.

Poster - WC Scrrening of The Bulter

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