Wil Haygood: October 21, 2015
16th Annual President and Provost’s
Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series
October 21, 2015 | 5:00 p.m.
The Ohio State University
Performance Hall | Ohio Union
1739 N. High Street | Columbus, OH 43210
Free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:15 p.m.
Award-winning author Wil Haygood, in his highly-anticipated Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, recounts the ferocious, five-day fight in the U.S. Senate over Lyndon Johnson’s nomination of the first African-American to the United States Supreme Court in the summer of 1967. In this stunning new portraiture of Marshall, Haygood revives the life of an American hero whose NAACP leadership and decades of legal maneuvering brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine that had relegated African Americans to second-class citizenship. The battle to confirm Marshall’s nomination, vehemently opposed by a powerful band of southern Senators, took place against a backdrop of nationwide urban riots protesting the unequal treatment and living conditions of black Americans, including in Baltimore, Marshall’s hometown, while the hearings were underway. In support of his work on Showdown, Haygood was awarded a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a Chairman’s award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. His biographies of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson have also garnered wide acclaim.
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and the first in his family to earn a college degree, Haygood went on to report for decades for two of the nation’s leading newspapers, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. In those roles, he witnessed Nelson Mandela’s release, was taken hostage by Somalian rebels, provided extensive coverage of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, traveled with candidate Barack Obama, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
In his well-known New York Times bestseller, The Butler: A Witness to History, Haygood recalled the life of a previously unknown White House butler who served eight U.S. presidents and was later an associate producer of its film adaption starring an unprecedented seven Academy Award winners, including Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Robin Williams, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, and Oprah Winfrey.
Haygood will discuss Marshall’s historic confirmation and his belief in the American court system to end racial injustice. An opportunity to hear this homegrown, nationally revered writer talk about the civil rights lawyer who successfully argued the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, is an evening not to be missed.